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Title: Fact vs fiction : an 'imagined contact' study aimed at reducing the impact of stigma about psychosis in young people
Author: Stafford, Lucy J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 8437
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2015
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Social anxiety following an episode of psychosis is distressing and reduces social recovery. One theory is that the stigma attached to the label ‘psychosis’ means that people anticipate losing ‘social rank’ which then produces anxiety in social situations. Empathy has been found to be protective against stigma developing. Imagined contact is an experimental paradigm aimed at reducing stigma between groups. This study used this brief intervention in a population of young adults (n=74) with the aim of reducing stigma about psychosis. A primer was administered, and the study compared the effects of a ‘story’ primer designed to promote empathy, and an ‘information’ primer. Analyses showed significant changes in social comparison and intergroup anxiety, and these changes were maintained over four weeks. No significant changes were found in empathy. There was also no main effect of primer type on results. The changes in social comparison and intergroup anxiety demonstrated promising results that could have positive implications for stigma reduction, but further research should investigate the role of empathy and the exact mechanism of change.
Supervisor: Butler, Lisa J.; Fife-Shaw, Chris Sponsor: NHS
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available