Cultural Variation in Implicit Mental Illness Stigma

Author: Cheon, B.K.; Chiao, J.Y.

Description: Culture shapes how individuals perceive and respond to others with mental illness. Prior studies have suggested that Asians and Asian Americans typically endorse greater stigma of mental illness compared to Westerners (White Europeans and Americans). However, whether these differences in stigma arise from cultural variations in automatic affective reactions or deliberative concerns of the appropriateness of one’s reactions to mental illness remains unknown. Here we compared implicit and explicit attitudes toward mental illness among Asian and Caucasian Americans. Asian Americans showed stronger negative implicit attitudes toward mental illness relative to Caucasian Americans, suggesting that cultural variation in stigma of mental illness can be observed even when concerns regarding the validity and appropriateness of one’s attitudes toward mental illness are minimized. Asian Americans also explicitly endorsed greater desire for social distance from mental illness relative to Caucasian Americans. These findings suggest that cultural variations in mental illness stigma may arise from cultural differences in automatic reactions to mental illness, though cultural variations in deliberative processing may further shape differences in these immediate reactions to mental illness.

Subject headings: Attitudes; Culture; Implicit processes; Mental illness; Social cognition; Stigma

Publication year: 2012

Journal or book title: Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

Volume: 43

Issue: 7


Find the full text :

Find more like this one (cited by):,16&hl=en

Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2336