University of Tasmania

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Stigmatisation associated with genetic test results for psychological disorders

Version 2 2024-04-04, 02:57
Version 1 2023-05-27, 19:31
posted on 2023-05-27, 19:31 authored by Ainsworth, C
This study examines stigma associated with genetic testing for psychological conditions, specifically, whether a positive or negative test result influences people‚ÄövÑv¥s perceptions relating to depression or schizophrenia. Four facets of stigma are investigated: desire for social distance; associative stigma towards relatives; perceived occupational impairment and perceived responsibility. A total of 208 participants (mean age = 37; female n = 162) were randomly assigned to read one of four vignettes describing a character with schizophrenia or depression, who had tested either positive or negative for a genetic predisposition to their condition. Participants then completed an online survey measuring attitudes towards the hypothetical person. Results from four factorial 2 (test: positive or negative) x 2 (condition: schizophrenia or depression) ANOVAs showed varying patterns of stigma across settings. In social distance and perceived responsibility, variations in stigma were due to a single main effect of disorder. There were main effects of disorder and test result in associative stigma. No significant effect was found for perceived occupational impairment. This suggests that a positive test result will increase associative stigma towards affected people and their families, whereas for social relationships and perceptions of responsibility, people with schizophrenia will be more stigmatised than those with depression.



School of Psychological Sciences

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