An experimental investigation of the impact of biological and psychological causal explanations on anxious and depressed patients' perception of a person with panic disorder

Lam, Danny C.K. and Salkovskis, Paul M. (2007) An experimental investigation of the impact of biological and psychological causal explanations on anxious and depressed patients' perception of a person with panic disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(2), pp. 405-411. ISSN (print) 0005-7967

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Abstract

It is often suggested that biological accounts of the cause of mental health problems are beneficial in health education initiatives. However, an alternative view is that the idea of a diseased brain may result in stigma and therapeutic pessimism in sufferers, professionals and the public with implications for the perception of unpredictability and risk. Anxious and depressed patients (n=49) were randomly allocated to three experimental conditions. Prior to watching a video of a person suffering from panic disorder, participants were told either that research indicated that panic was caused by biological factors, by psychological factors or the cause was unclear (control condition). Those in the biological condition were significantly more pessimistic about the patient's prospects for recovery and rated risks as higher compared to those in the psychological condition. The results call into question the widely accepted practice of promoting biological/disease explanations of mental health problems.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: panic disorder, casual labelling, health education, de-stigmatising, experimental study, mental-illness, attitudes, stigma
Research Area: Nursing and midwifery
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences
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Depositing User: Lucinda Lyon
Date Deposited: 18 May 2007
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2010 14:06
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/854

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