Social Distance toward People with Mental Illness: An assessment of Attitude and Knowledge
AbstractSocial distance can be defined as the perception on the level of acceptance people have towards others outside from their social hierarchy. This study aimed to predict the influences of attitudes and knowledge on social distance towards people with mental illness among university students. The instrument used in this study is Social Distance Practice scale toward people with mental illness which was adapted from Crabb.J, his colleagues in 2012. Meanwhile, scale for attitude and knowledge were adopted form Wahl and his colleagues in 2012 and used in this study. This study was based on a sample of 384 adolescent public university students in Selangor Malaysia. The results showed that social distance toward people with mental illness among university students was mainly influenced by their attitude (P <0.05; t = 3.49), not knowledge. This shows that even though people have knowledge of mental illness, they still have a negative view of people suffering from mental illness and distance themselves from it. Therefore, people suffering from mental illness often face stigmatization and an increase in public awareness and support is highly needed.
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