Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Cheryl Meyer (Committee Chair), Eve Wolf (Committee Member), Betty Yung (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


The current study examined the impact of film on participants' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards people with schizophrenia. Films viewed in the current study included a fear-based inaccurate, likeable-inaccurate, and an educational-accurate depiction of schizophrenia. A control group was included. A total of 106 participants were recruited. Participants completed pre and post questionnaires separated by a 45-minute excerpt of a film. A 2 x 4 mixed design ANOVA was implemented to determine the effects of the films on measures of knowledge and attitudes. A Chi-square analysis was used to determine whether or not the films would impact potential behavior. Manipulation checks were included, as well as control measures for familiarity with schizophrenia. Results yielded significant increases in stigmatizing attitudes for participants in the fear-based inaccurate group compared to the accurate and control group. Stigmatizing attitudes were significantly lower for participants in the accurate group when compared to the likeable-inaccurate group. Knowledge did not vary. Participants viewing the likeable-inaccurate and accurate film tended to endorse behavioral benevolence compared to the fear-based inaccurate and control film. Lastly, fear-based participants reported increased negative affect and endorsed statements that people with schizophrenia were unpredictable, dependent, and dangerous. These results provide support for previous research indicating that accurate portrayals of severe mental illness decrease stigmatizing attitudes. The current study provides newly introduced empirical support for the hypothesis that negative, inaccurate portrayals of severe mental illness enhance stigmatizing attitudes. The direct advancement of social psychological research, as well as individual, social, and clinical implications are noted.

Page Count


Department or Program

School of Professional Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Psychology Commons