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An Investigation into Public Perceptions About Mental Illness, Criminal Behavior, and Dangerousness
Current Issue
Volume 5, 2018
Issue 3 (September)
Pages: 80-86   |   Vol. 5, No. 3, September 2018   |   Follow on         
Paper in PDF Downloads: 375   Since Aug. 31, 2018 Views: 1581   Since Aug. 31, 2018
Raqota Berger, Center for Criminal and Psychological Studies, Los Angeles, USA.
There are few things that can stigmatize someone as much as being diagnosed with a mental illness. People have long believed that those with mental illnesses are more prone to committing criminal acts and that they are more dangerous than the average person. These beliefs and attitudes are further perpetuated by media representations that continually portray those with mental illnesses as being unstable, unpredictable, and out of control. This study looked at what people think about those with mental illnesses and how they feel about their behaviors, propensity to commit crimes, and their own sense of safety. The data demonstrated that many still believe that individuals with mental illnesses are more likely to commit criminal acts and that they are not all that comfortable being around these individuals. Respondents tended to believe that diagnosed individuals were more likely to be violent. Women were more likely to express concerns about their own safety. This study further shows that there is much work to do to dispel many of these myths and stigmas that so often co-exist with attitudes and perceptions toward those with mental illnesses.
Mental Illness, Criminal Behavior, Dangerousness, Public Perceptions, Stigma
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