Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 494–499 | Cite as

An Examination of Two Brief Stigma Reduction Strategies: Filmed Personal Contact and Hallucination Simulations

  • Seth A. Brown
  • Yolanda Evans
  • Kelly Espenschade
  • Maureen O’Connor
Original paper


Mental illness stigma is quite prevalent with dire consequences. A number of interventions to decrease stigma have been formulated, but have variable effectiveness and limited dissemination. This research examined the impact of two brief interventions: a film depicting individuals with schizophrenia (filmed contact) and a simulation of auditory hallucinations. Participants (N = 143) were randomly assigned to one of three interventions: (1) filmed contact, (2) simulation, or (3) no intervention, and completed two stigma measures prior to, immediately after, and 1 week after the intervention. The filmed contact intervention led to decreases in stigma which persisted across 1 week. However, the simulation led to increases in stigma. The results suggest that a filmed contact intervention may decrease two aspects of mental illness stigma (social distance and negative emotions), which has implications for wide dissemination. The efficacy of a hallucination simulations intervention remains dubious.


Stigma Education Contact Simulation 


  1. Angermeyer, M. C., & Dietrich, S. (2006). Public beliefs about and attitudes towards people with mental illness: A review of population studies. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 113, 163–179.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Banks, J., Ericksson, G., Burrage, K., Yellowlees, P., Ivermee, S., & Tichon, J. (2004). Constructing the hallucinations of psychosis in virtual reality. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 27, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, S. A. (2008). Emotional reactions to simulations of auditory hallucinations. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 30, 307–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, S. A. (in press). Implementing a brief hallucination simulation as a mental illness stigma reduction strategy. Community Mental Health Journal. Google Scholar
  5. Chan, J. Y. N., Mak, W. W. S., & Law, L. S. C. (2009). Combining education and video-based contact to reduce stigma of mental illness: “The Same or Not the Same” anti-stigma program for secondary schools in Hong Kong. Social Science and Medicine, 68, 1521–1526.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Corrigan, P. W., & Kleinlein, P. (2005). The impact of mental illness stigma. In P. W. Corrigan (Ed.), On the stigma of mental illness (pp. 11–44). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Corrigan, P. W., & O’Shaughnessy, J. R. (2007). Changing mental illness stigma as it exists in the real world. Australian Psychologist, 42, 90–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Corrigan, P. W., & Penn, D. L. (1999). Lessons from social psychology on discrediting psychiatric stigma. American Psychologist, 54, 765–776.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Corrigan, P. W., River, L. P., Lundin, R. K., Penn, D. L., Uphoff-Wasowski, K., Campion, J., et al. (2001). Three strategies for changing attributions about severe mental illness. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 27, 187–195.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Corrigan, P. W., Rowan, D., Green, A., Lundin, R., River, P., Uphoff-Wasowski, K., et al. (2002). Challenging two mental illness stigmas: Personal responsibility and dangerousness. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 28, 293–309.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Corrigan, P. W., Larson, J., Sells, M., Niessen, N., & Watson, A. (2007). Will filmed presentations of education and contact diminish mental illness stigma? Community Mental Health Journal, 43, 171–181.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Deegan, P. E. (1996). Hearing voices that are distressing: A training and simulated experience. Lawrence, MA: The National Empowerment Center, Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Derogatis, L. R. (1994). Symptom checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R). Minneapolis, MN: NCS Pearson, Inc.Google Scholar
  14. Farina, A., & Felner, R. (1973). Employment interviewer reactions to former mental patients. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 82, 268–272.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Frisch, M. B. (1994). Quality of life inventory. Minneapolis, MN: NCS Pearson, Inc.Google Scholar
  16. Hemmens, C., Miller, M., Burton, V. S., & Milner, S. (2002). The consequences of official labels: An examination of the rights lost by the mentally ill and mentally incompetent ten years later. Community Mental Health Journal, 38, 129–140.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Holmes, E. P., Corrigan, P. W., Williams, P., Canar, J., & Kubiak, M. A. (1999). Changing attitudes about schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 25, 447–456.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Link, B. G., Cullen, F. T., Frank, J., & Wozniak, J. F. (1987). The social rejection of former mental patients: Understanding why labels matter. American Journal of Sociology, 92, 1461–1500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mann, C. E., & Himelein, M. J. (2008). Putting the person back into psychopathology: An intervention to reduce mental illness stigma in the classroom. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 43, 545–551.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Mantovani, F., Castelnuovo, G., Gaggioli, A., & Riva, G. (2003). Virtual reality training for health-care professionals. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 6, 389–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Markowitz, F. E. (2005). Sociological models of mental illness stigma: Progress and prospects. In P. W. Corrigan (Ed.), On the stigma of mental illness (pp. 129–144). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mayville, E., & Penn, D. L. (1998). Changing societal attitudes toward persons with severe mental illness. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 5, 241–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mino, Y., Yasuda, N., Tsuda, T., & Shimodera, S. (2001). Effects of a one-hour educational program on medical students’ attitudes to mental illness. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 55, 501–507.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Penn, D. L., & Nowlin-Drummond, A. (2001). Politically correct labels and schizophrenia: A rose by any other name? Schizophrenia Bulletin, 27, 197–203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Penn, D. L., Guynan, K., Daily, T., Spaulding, W. D., Garbin, C. P., & Sullivan, M. (1994). Dispelling the stigma of schizophrenia: What sort of information is best? Schizophrenia Bulletin, 20, 567–577.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Penn, D. L., Chamberlin, C., & Mueser, K. T. (2003). The effects of a documentary film about schizophrenia on psychiatric stigma. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 29, 383–391.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Pinfold, V., Toulmin, H., Thornicroft, G., Huxley, P., Farmer, P., & Graham, T. (2003). Reducing psychiatric stigma and discrimination: Evaluation of educational interventions in the UK secondary schools. British Journal of Psychiatry, 182, 342–346.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Reinke, R. R., Corrigan, P. W., Leonhard, C., Lundin, R. K., & Kubiak, M. A. (2004). Examining two aspects of contact on the stigma of mental illness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 377–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schulze, B., Richter-Werling, M., Matschinger, H., & Angermeyer, M. C. (2003). Crazy? So what! Effects of a school project on students’ attitudes towards people with schizophrenia. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 107, 142–150.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Shera, W., & Delva-Tauiliili, J. (1996). Changing MSW students’ attitudes towards the severely mentally ill. Community Mental Health Journal, 32, 159–169.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Stuart, H. (2006). Reaching out to high school youth: The effectiveness of a video-based antistigma program. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 51, 647–653.Google Scholar
  32. Tanaka, G., Ogawa, T., Inadomi, H., Kikuchi, Y., & Ohta, Y. (2003). Effects of an educational program on public attitudes toward mental illness. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 57, 595–602.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Treatment Resources for Understanding Schizophrenia Therapy (Producer). (2001). Living with Schizophrenia [Videotape]. (Available from Pfizer Inc., 235 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017).Google Scholar
  34. Watson, A. C., Ottati, V., Lurigio, A., & Heyrman, M. (2005). Stigma and the police. In P. W. Corrigan (Ed.), On the stigma of mental illness (pp. 197–217). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seth A. Brown
    • 1
  • Yolanda Evans
    • 1
  • Kelly Espenschade
    • 1
  • Maureen O’Connor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Northern IowaCedar FallsUSA

Personalised recommendations