Attitudes and beliefs of the French public about schizophrenia and major depression: results from a vignette-based population survey

Attitudes and beliefs of the French public about schizophrenia and major depression: results from a vignette-based population survey

2013 BMC. Psychiatry

Angermeyer, M.C. | Millier, A. | Remuzat, C. | Refai, T. | Toumi, M. | Volume: 13, Issue: , Pages: 313, Adult, Attitude, Depression, Depressive Disorder, France, mental health, methods, Prognosis, Schizophrenia,

BACKGROUND: In their study ‘Mental Health in the General Population: Images and Realities’ Jean-Luc Roelandt et al. found a huge divide between the French public’s conceptualizations of insanity and depression. The study aims to examine whether such differences can be replicated using modern operationalized diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. METHODS: In 2012, an online survey was conducted using a representative sample drawn from the adult French population (N = 1600). After presentation of a case-vignette depicting a person with either schizophrenia or major depressive disorder a fully structured interview was carried out. RESULTS: Despite some similarities marked differences between both disorders emerge regarding beliefs and attitudes. While respondents presented with the schizophrenia vignette more frequently defined symptoms as the expression of an illness with a stronger biological component and a less favorable prognosis, demanding psychiatric treatment, respondents presented with the depression vignette considered the occurrence of symptoms more frequently as the consequence of current psychosocial stress, benefitting not only from established but also from alternative treatments. People with schizophrenia were more frequently perceived as unpredictable and dangerous, there was a stronger need to separate one-self from them, they were more frequently met with fear and less frequently reacted to with pro-social feelings, and they also faced more rejection. CONCLUSIONS: The French public draws a clear line between schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. This applies equally to beliefs about both disorders and to attitudes towards the persons afflicted. There is a need for interventions trying to reduce existing misconceptions in order to improve the care of patients

https://www.doi.org/1471-244X-13-313 [pii];10.1186/1471-244X-13-313