Presented to the
Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences
University of Northern Philippines
Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Subject
Research in Psychology
According to Olson & Zanna (1993), attitudes are comprised of three components which are affective, cognitive, and behavioural. The affective component represents the emotional portion of an attitude, whereas the cognitive component refers to ideas, beliefs, and opinions (Antonak & Livneh, 1988). The behavioural component describes a person‘s willingness to interact with the subject at hand and the manner in which they do so (Cook, 1992). It is important to understand the components of attitudes since understanding attitudes should help predict behaviour toward persons with disabilities or mental illnesses. Furthermore, the relationship between attitudes and behaviour is complex, and attitudes only account for a small part of behaviour (http://www.uwlax.edu/urc/JUR-online/PDF/2010/grames&leverentz.pdf). The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes mental illness as a “medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning”. The libertarian humanist Thomas Szas further described the term “mental illness” as a form of social control, a subjective concept which is used to label those who do not conform to the norms. All over the world, there is an increasing awareness of mental ill health as significant cause of morbidity. Furthermore, public attitudes towards persons with mental illness may have improved over the years (Bhugra, 1989; Skinner, Berry, Griffith, & Byers, 1995), but research indicates that members of the public continue to maintain fear towards persons with mental illness, blame them for their illness, and underestimate their chances of recovery (Corrigan et al., 2000; Levey & Howells, 1994). According to Byrne (2001), while there have been improvements in people’s perceptions of the mentally ill due to public education campaigns, two identical UK public opinion surveys reported only little change over the last 10 years. Over 80% endorsed the statement that “most people are embarrassed by mentally ill persons” and about 30% agreeing that “I am embarrassed by mentally ill people”. However, in an article 7 by Corrigan and Watson they claimed that there is some support for the hypothesis that people are less likely to endorse blame, anger, and social avoidance toward people with mental illness after they have been educated about how mental illness is a biological disorder that people do not choose (Corrigan et al. 2002; 2004). It emphasises genetic factors, neurotransmitter-related chemical imbalances, and medical conditions. The biological explanation for mental illness may reduce anger and blame held by members of the general public but it implies a fundamental difference for those with mental illnesses, that they are unable to function properly, hence,aq further excludes them from the rest of society. In contrast to the biological arguments, psychosocial explanations of mental illness and mental disorders have been reported to improve the perceptions and images held by the general public and reduce fear (Morrison et al. 1979; Morrison and Teta 1979, 1980; Read and Law, 1999). This study will serve as a guide for the laymen regarding mental illness. Observations in the attitudes of people toward mental illness were made and these reveal that some of the attitudes are unfavourable that they tend to have doubts regarding the care given to people with mental illness.
Statement of the Problem
This study aims to determine the...