The Opinions of Italian Psychology Students About People Diagnosed with Depression and Schizophrenia: A Comparative Study

  • Lorenza Magliano
  • Giustina Schioppa
  • Regina Costanzo
  • Miriam Petrillo
  • John Read
Original Article


This study explored the opinions about depression and schizophrenia among Italian psychology students, and whether students’ opinions changed during education. Of the 705 students who read a description of depression (N = 275) or schizophrenia (N = 430) and then completed a questionnaire on their opinions about the disorder, 490 made a correct diagnosis (depression = 243/275; schizophrenia: 247/430) and were included in the study. Compared to schizophrenia-group students, depression-group students: more frequently mentioned psychosocial factors and less frequently heredity among the causes; were more convinced about the usefulness of psychological therapies and less about pharmacotherapies; had more prognostic optimism; had lower perception of unpredictability and dangerousness. Compared to first-year students, fifth-year students (depression = 105; schizophrenia = 162): in both diagnostic groups more frequently cited heredity among the causes; in depression group, had lower perception of unpredictability; in schizophrenia group, had higher perception of dangerousness and more prognostic pessimism. More education about stigma should be provided to psychology students.


Stigma Depression Schizophrenia Psychology students Causal beliefs 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer India Pvt. Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”CasertaItaly
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

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