Nature and Nurture

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Public Conceptions of Mental Illness: Labels, Causes, Dangerousness, and Social Distance Purpose of the research
Public practitioners have noted that lack of knowledge on the causes and symptoms of mental illness increases number of mentally ill patients. Moreover, proper care of mentally ill patients by friends and family is not taken into account because of the stigma placed on these patients. The main cause of the stigma is myths and misconceptions by the society. The purpose of this research is to determine the public conception of mental illness, perceived causes, dangerousness and desired social distance to determine the level of knowledge by the public on the same. Where, when and how research was conducted

The data was collected through secondary means from the General Social Survey done in 1996. The survey is usually done semi-annually on adults living in USA. The individuals chosen to obtain data from in the sample were randomly selected to ensure a random selection on the basis of age, sex, level of education and the race. This was to ensure all information gathered is from a wide range of individuals. Social perception was gathered on the different types of mental disorders which included Schizophrenia, depressive disorder, alcohol dependence, drug dependence and a troubled person. Findings of the Research

The sample individuals were asked which of the disorders given above was more likely to be a mental illness. 88.1% perceived that those with schizophrenia were more likely to have a mental illness disorder. A troubled person had the least percentage with 21.5% of the respondents believing that he had a mental illness. Secondly, data was gathered on the perceived causes of each of the disorders from a given list of possible causes. The possible causes were character’s own character, chemical imbalance, way the person was raised, stressful circumstances of person’s life, genetic or inherited problems and God’s will. From the results obtained,...
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