Far be it from me –

NEW STUDY ON ATTITUDES TOWARDS “SCHIZOPHRENIA” a post from Professor John Read

on June 19, 2015

NEW STUDY ON ATTITUDES TOWARDS ‘SCHIZOPHRENIA’

Study published this week, with Lorenza Magliano’s great research team in Naples………

Confirms all the previous studies showing that bio-genetic causal beliefs and diagnostic labelling, are associated with negative attitudes.

These findings are important because they show, yet again, that the ‘mental illness is an illness like any other’ approach, adopted by many ‘destigmatisation’ programmes (especially those funded by drug companies), actually makes attitudes WORSE.

A new finding, rather depressing but perhaps unsurprising, is that PSYCHOLOGY students (at least in Italy) become MORE biologically oriented in the course of their training.

All the more reason for psychology lecturers to throw away those old style American textbooks that turgidly and uncritically reify diagnostic categories as chapter headings and then tell us that everything is largely genetically determined.

I strongly recommend, instead, the BPS award winning textbook by John Cromby, Dave Harper and Paula Harvey:
PSYCHOLOGY, MENTAL HEALTH AND DISTRESS
(Yes I am biased, because I co-authoured the ‘Madness’ chapter)

I will be using this textbook for my third year undergraduate paper at Swinburne Uni in Melbourne next semester. Australian mental health services certainly need an injection of social context and critical thinking in the next generation of practitioners. The simplistic, pessimistic medical model is so dominant here, even within non-medical disciplines ! – that it feels like a cross between the UK thirty years ago and the USA today. ECT is on the increase here ! and anti-depressant prescribing is among the very highest in the world.

As always, though, there are heaps of great people pushing for change here.

Community Mental Health Journal
DOI 10.1007/s10597-015-9901-5

THE INFLUENCE OF CAUSAL EXPLANATIONS AND DIAGNOSTIC LABELING ON PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS’ BELIEFS ABOUT TREATMENTS, PROGNOSIS,
DANGEROUSNESS AND UNPREDICTABILITY IN SCHIZOPHRENIA

Lorenza Magliano
John Read
Angela Rinaldi
Regina Costanzo
Renata De Leo
Giustina Schioppa
Miriam Petrillo

ABSTRACT
This study explored views of 566 Italian psychology students about schizophrenia. The most frequently cited causes were psychological traumas (68%) and heredity (54%).
Thirty-three percent of students firmly believed that people with the condition could recover.

Reporting heredity among the causes, and identifying schizophrenia were both associated with prognostic pessimism, greater confidence in pharmacological treatments and lower confidence in psychological treatments.
Schizophrenia labeling was also associated with higher perception of unpredictability and dangerousness.

Compared to first year students, fourth/fifth year students more frequently reportedheredity among the causes, and were more pessimistic about schizophrenia recovery.

Stigma topics should be included in future psychologists’ education.

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2 responses to “NEW STUDY ON ATTITUDES TOWARDS “SCHIZOPHRENIA” a post from Professor John Read

  1. capriofwa says:

    I am sure that R D Laing has said a lot in relation to these sorts of issues particularly in relation to the label “schizophrenia” in the chapter headed “The Schizophrenic Experience” in the book “Politics of Experience”. “The Divided Self” was for me very illuminating as well. Having been through the process so well described by him in that chapter, I can reiterate what he said when he said that what some might describe as a breakdown may well be a breakthrough. The discovery of our true Self sometimes requires destruction of a false personality/ego, terrifying though this might be. I’m currently reading “Going Crazy” edited by Dr. Hendrik M. Ruitenbeek, interesting stuff.

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