Effect of Personal Stories from a Recovered Patient on Participants’ Perceptions of Individuals with Schizophrenia

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.


  • Poster
  • 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.

  • Psychology

5 thoughts on “Effect of Personal Stories from a Recovered Patient on Participants’ Perceptions of Individuals with Schizophrenia”

  1. Great job Taylor! So glad to see you incorporated social/media influence on mental illness! Such an important topic!

  2. This is a really important topic thank you! You did an amazing job on this project! I am glad you found that it helps perception if people watch a single video hearing someone’s story. That gives us all hope that stigma around mental health can be reduced if we put in the time and compassion.

  3. Great job, Taylor! I really enjoyed listening to you present your poster, I can really tell how much hard work went into your research!

  4. This makes an important contribution to ongoing efforts to improve understanding of a disorder that unfortunately remains so limited because of misconceptions and fear. Like so much in contemporary society, perception often supersedes fact, but your study shows how perception can be positively affected, and empathy fostered, through connections at a personal level. Thanks!
    In addition to the study itself, your poised and professional delivery illustrates why yours was chosen by the organizers as a model presentation.

  5. cdtyree20@icloud.com

    You did such a great job sharing the research you have done on people living with schizophrenia. I have always had an interest in mental illness in comparison to how they live their daily life, and react to everyday situations versus those who do not have a mental illness. I like that you chose to include students in your research, and the different methods that you chose to do to collect your data. It is interesting to look at the results, and compare the similarities/differences of people’s thoughts when conducting a study. In my opinion I would agree that it is a misconception that people with schizophrenia are less predictable, less in control, and more prone to committing crimes because they are different than we are. I think the more people become familiar with mental illness the better understanding they will have on what differences that mental illness actually causes versus just assuming something about another that they don’t even know to be true. This was a really great way to share data collected by students, and I really enjoyed listening to how you set up your project for this semester.
    Caitlin Tyree

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