My study hypothesized that watching a video of a recovered individual living with schizophrenia describing personal experiences with the disease could increase perceptions that these individuals are in control of their own behavior and encourage social closeness. Sixty-four college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a personal-experience video group, an educational video group, or a control group. Those in the personal-experience group watched a video of a woman living successfully with schizophrenia discussing her experience with the disease. Those in the educational video watched a video of the same woman discussing only criteria and symptoms. The control group read a standard textbook definition of mental illness. After viewing, participants rated their perceptions of those with schizophrenia. The results found that those in the personal video group were more likely to give positive ratings. This is an important finding. It shows that direct contact can decrease stigma and encourage acceptance, thus promoting a renewed sense of possibility for those with the disease.
This study examined whether a personal-experience video was more effective than educational information at reducing stigma surrounding individuals living with schizophrenia. Results showed that personal-experience videos decreased stigma and increased acceptance more than an educational video and control conditions.