July 1964

Psychopathology and Attitudes Toward Mental Illness

Author Affiliations

Washington University Medical School.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(1):48-52. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720250050006

A recent study1 indicated that hospitalized psychiatric patients' attitudes toward psychiatrists, hospitals and treatment are quite positive. If the patient was a readmission, married, or 40 or older, his responses were even more favorable. However, the Multiple Choice Attitudes Questionnaire (MCAQ)2 used for this survey consists of only 12 items. Further, the socially desirable answers to these questions are obvious. The distribution of scores obtained was markedly skewed toward the "favorable" end of the continuum which would suggest that a social desirability response set may have strongly affected the results. Thus, the findings may not reflect the patients' attitudes as such but simply show that the majority of hospitalized patients tend to respond in ways which they think will please the examiner.

A more valid assessment of attitudes concerning the genesis, management and treatment of mental illness might be obtained by using

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