Stigmatizing attributions about mental illness

Patrick W. Corrigan*, L. Philip River, Robert K. Lundin, Kyle Uphoff Wasowski, John Campion, James Mathisen, Hillel Goldstein, Maria Bergman, Christine Gagnon, Mary Anne Kubiak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

226 Scopus citations


Work and housing opportunities of persons with psychosis, substance abuse disorder, and other mental illnesses are significantly hampered by societal stigma. Earlier research by Weiner and colleagues (1988) examined stigmatizing attitudes associated with general health disabilities in terms of attributions about the controllability and stability of these disabilities. The relevance of this model for describing attributions about four psychiatric disorders is examined in this study. One hundred and fifty two adults rated four psychiatric groups (cocaine addiction, depression, psychosis, and mental retardation) and two physical health groups (cancer and AIDS) on six items corresponding with controllability and stability attributions. Findings from a factor analysis supported the distinction between controllability and stability factors. Results also suggested that mental health disabilities were rated more negatively on these factors than physical disabilities. Participants clearly discriminated among mental health disabilities, with cocaine addiction rated most negative in terms of controllability and mental retardation rated most negative in terms of stability. Attribution analyses provide useful information for changing the community's reactions to persons with mental illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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    Corrigan, P. W., River, L. P., Lundin, R. K., Wasowski, K. U., Campion, J., Mathisen, J., Goldstein, H., Bergman, M., Gagnon, C., & Kubiak, M. A. (2000). Stigmatizing attributions about mental illness. Journal of Community Psychology, 28(1), 91-102.<91::AID-JCOP9>3.0.CO;2-M