Title

Effects of the label 'schizophrenia' on causal attributions of violence

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

1-1-1999

Abstract

We investigated the relation between the label of 'schizophrenia' and causal attributions of violence. Undergraduates read 1 of 10 scenarios in which two variables were manipulated: a psychiatric label and environmental stress. The scenario described an employee who acted violently toward his boss. Subjects made causal attributions for the employee's behavior by completing an adapted version of the Causal Dimension Scale II. Subjects also completed a questionnaire designed to explore several issues concerning the effects of the schizophrenia label on perceptions of behavior. Contrary to the primary hypothesis, the schizophrenia label did not lead subjects to make significantly more personality causal attributions for violent behavior. With increasing environmental stress, subjects did make significantly fewer personality attributions. A follow-up study using practicing clinicians as subjects yielded similar findings. The results of these studies are discussed in light of perceived stereotypes of persons with schizophrenia and conceptual issues in attribution research.

Publication Title

Schizophrenia Bulletin

Volume

25

Issue

3

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