Stigmatizing attitudes about mental illness and allocation of resources to mental health services

Community Ment Health J. 2004 Aug;40(4):297-307. doi: 10.1023/b:comh.0000035226.19939.76.


This study tests a social psychological model (Skitka & Tetlock, 1992). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 28, 491-522; [1993]. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 65, 1205-1223 stating that policy maker decisions regarding the allocation of resources to mental health services are influenced by their attitudes towards people with mental illness and treatment efficacy. Fifty four individuals participated in a larger study of education about mental health stigma. Participants completed various measures of resource allocation preferences for mandated treatment and rehabilitation services, attributions about people with mental illness, and factors that influence allocation preferences including perceived treatment efficacy. Results showed significant attitudinal correlates with resource allocation preferences for mandated treatment, but no correlates to rehabilitation services. In particular, people who pity people with mental illness as well as those that endorse coercive and segregated treatments, were more likely to rate resource allocation to mandated care as important. Perceived treatment efficacy was also positively associated with resource allocation preferences for mandated treatment. A separate behavioral measure that involved donating money to NAMI was found to be inversely associated with blaming people for their mental illness and not being willing to help them. Implications of these findings on strategies that seek to increase resources for mental health programs are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Health Care Rationing*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandatory Programs
  • Maternal Welfare
  • Mental Disorders* / rehabilitation
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Mental Health Services / economics*
  • Psychology, Social
  • Resource Allocation*
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States