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Adolescences Attitudes Towards Mental Illness Essay

5253 words - 22 pages

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Adolescences Attitudes Towards Mental Illness Kellie Walker Student Number- 11546766 Charles Sturt University

Subject: PSY102 Subject coordinator: Rabul Islam Assignment No: 2 Due Date: 15.09.2014
Word Count: 2,086!



There is a large amount of research evidence which suggests that social acceptance is associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms and a greater willingness to seek mental health support. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the extent to which a group of adolescents perceived mental illness as being caused ...view middle of the document...

The amount of social distance people hold from individuals who are perceived as mentally ill has also been shown to effect levels of depressive symptoms (Talebi, Matheson, & Anisman, 2013). Norman and Mella (1983) found that the more behaviour was seen as indicating mental illness, the greater the social distance was established, and the more likely it was seen as having a physical aetiology. Some studies have attempted to explain why people are less accepting of people perceived as mentally ill with relationships between exposure to media and beliefs about mental illness being found (Dietrich, Heuder, Matschinger, & Angermeyer, 2006). Corrigan, Green, Lundin, Kubiak, & Penn (2001) explored relationships between familiarity with mental illness and social acceptance, finding the more people are familiar with mental illness, the more accepting they are of abnormal behaviour. It is important to understand this connection between perception of behaviour, social acceptability, and the perceived causes of mental illness so the correct area of mental illness can be targeted when educating adolescents about abnormal behaviour. Targeting the correct area of mental illness could increase social acceptance of the mentally ill and reduce the stigma of seeking support for mental health. Many researchers have conducted studies on social distance and mental illness (Corrigan et al., 2001; Dietrich et. al, 2006; Talebi et al., 2013) although not nearly enough has been done on peoples’ perceptions about the causes of




mental illness and the effects those perceptions have on their beliefs. Norman and Malla (1983) have conducted research into adolescents’ perceptions about mental illness, however, given that this research was conducted more than thirty years ago, the results need to be interpreted with caution. In support of this, Reavley & Jorm (2012) argue that peoples’ attitudes toward mental illness change over time, and therefore more current research needs to be conducted. This study, therefore, seeks to extend on previous research by providing information on adolescents beliefs about the origins of mental illness, their perceptions about behaviour as being indicative of mental illness, and their social acceptability of someone who is perceived to be mentally ill. The aim of this study was to find out whether perception of behaviour is indicative of mental illness and to what extent beliefs of physical causes, psychosocial causes, and social acceptance is significantly correlated with it. The hypotheses were that; The greater the behaviour was perceived to be mentally ill, the greater causes would be attributed to physical causes, that there would be no relationship between adolescent’s perception of behaviour as mentally ill and psychosocial causes, and the greater mental illness was perceived from the behaviour, the less social acceptance would be shown. Method Participants...

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