Who do we attribute mental health stigma to?

Misguided Madness

It’s quite common to find ourselves explaining why we do what we do or why someone else did something for that matter. You may have wondered why someone failed in class and came to the conclusion that she or he must not have studied. You could have thought that the reason your dance performance went well was because you put in a lot of hours rehearsing. The way in which people explain the causes of their own behaviour and that of others is described in what is known as attribution theory.

This theory is especially relevant in understanding mental health stigma. When it comes to making attributions about people with mental illness, an important factor to take into consideration is controllability. If the cause of someone’s behaviour is within their control then they are blamed or held responsible for that behaviour. This means we tend to ascribe blame and responsibility to…

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Discrimination against the mentally ill- A social cognitive perspective

Misguided Madness

Imagine you board a crowded bus to get to college. There are no empty seats so you end up standing along with some other passengers. You can hear a man behind you muttering incoherently through out the ride. Other passengers around you also notice him talking to himself. They distance themselves from the man. Finally, when a seat empties and he tries to sit down, a frightened looking woman places her handbag on the seat and the man went back to standing on the bus. The woman sighs in relief.

Why was this man talking to himself? What made people back away from him or refuse to let him sit down?

One way of answering these questions is through the social cognitive model of stigma. To put it simply, the model states that signals in our social environment activate stereotypes that we have which then result in our discriminatory behaviour.

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Call me crazy- Labelling and stigma in schizophrenia

My classmates and I started a blog on mental health, check out some of my posts on it 🙂

Misguided Madness


Diagnostic labels are beneficial in psychiatric and psychological treatment of mental illnesses yet they also have negative consequences. Labelling theory states that psychiatric labelling perpetuates negative stereotypes about the mentally ill which will in turn lead to discrimination. This may be particularly true for people who are diagnosed with certain disorders over others.

For instance, research has identified that labelling someone as having a mental illness does have an impact on public attitude towards people with schizophrenia and the negative effects far outweigh the positive effects. By labelling as mental illness, the negative stereotype that such individuals are dangerous was endorsed and this has a negative effect on the way people react emotionally towards someone diagnosed with schizophrenia. It also increases their need for social distance from them. However, the label also endorsed another stereotype that those with mental illness are dependent. Perceiving someone with schizophrenia as someone in need…

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