Title

The Depression Schema: How Labels, Features, and Causal Explanations Affect Lay Conceptions of Depression

Abstract

Depression is a common clinical disorder characterized by a complex web of psychological, behavioral, and neurological causes and symptoms. Here we investigate everyday beliefs and attitudes about depression, as well as the factors that shape the depression schemas people hold. In each of three studies, participants read about a person experiencing several symptoms of depression and answered questions about their conception of the disorder. In some cases the symptoms were presented in isolation while in other cases the symptoms were presented with a diagnostic label and/or descriptions of its possible causes (e.g., genes versus personal experience). Results indicated that beliefs and attitudes toward depression were largely shaped by individual difference factors (e.g., personal experience, political ideology) and that the experimental manipulations primarily impacted attributions of responsibility and suggestions for a course of treatment. These findings represent an important advance in our understanding of the factors that influence the folk psychiatry of depression and help inform theories of schema formation for abstract and complex domains.

Publisher

Frontiers Research Foundation

Publication Date

11-17-2015

Publication Title

Frontiers in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01728

Keywords

Schemes, Depression, Framing, Folk psychiatry, Biological explanations, Gender-differences, Mental disorders, Mechanical Turk, Schizophrenia, Stigma, Perceptions, Attitudes

Language

English

Format

text

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