Changes in attitudes towards mental illness following exposure

Helene S. Wallach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attitudes towards mental patients influence the treatment they receive and decisions of policymakers. It is important to modify attitudes of students who may work with them. Psychopathology course students (45 visited a mental institution, 56 volunteered in it, and 12 neither) and 53 introductory psychology students participated in this study. Benevolence, mental hygiene etiology and interpersonal etiology (opinions about mental illness scale) improved from beginning to end of year. Working proved more important than visiting or studying. Visiting increased social restrictiveness. Therefore, a small amount of exposure (a visit) can be detrimental. These results point to the possible superiority of prolonged, intimate exposure, on an equal basis, in changing attitudes towards mental health patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes
  • Change factors
  • Mental-health
  • Opinions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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