Interpersonal contact and acceptance of persons with psychiatric disorders: A research synthesis

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Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, ISSN: 0022-006X, Vol: 64, Issue: 6, Page: 1387-1396

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Kolodziej, Monika E.; Johnson, Blair T.
American Psychological Association (APA)
Psychology; Medicine; Humans; *Interpersonal Relations; Mental Disorders; Mental Health Services; Medical Education; Mental and Social Health; Psychiatry; Psychiatry and Psychology
article description
This meta-analytic review predicted and confirmed that interpersonal contact between mental health employees or students and persons diagnosed with psychiatric disorders is associated with improved attitudes toward the latter group. As also predicted, the amount of attitude change was found to be smaller, although still significant, when the evaluative measure described a group of the "mentally ill" rather than specific individuals, and when the respondents were mental health employees rather than students. Contrary to predictions, contact interventions of longer duration were not associated with greater attitude changes. It is concluded that contact interventions occurring in mental health settings are effective in promoting attitude change toward persons with psychiatric disorders, and methodological refinements that should strengthen the effectiveness of future contact interventions are outlined.