Recommendations of mental health professionals and the general population on how to treat mental disorders
OBJECTIVE To assess the influence of demographic, psychological, sociological and cultural variables on the public acceptance of restrictions on mentally ill people. METHOD Multiple logistic regression analysis of the results of an opinion survey conducted on a representative sample in the German, French and Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. RESULTS Public acceptance of restrictions depends on age, education and gender. The influence of demographic variables is reduced when including rigidity, anomie, social distance and contact with mentally ill people in the analysis. The cultural influence of the language region is significant. All these factors predict acceptance. Stereotypes and emotional reactions have no influence. CONCLUSION Attitudes to mentally ill people are shaped on three distinct levels, the psychological, social and cultural, respectively. Demographic variables partly play the role of placeholders covering the underlying relationships.