The American Psychological Association, among other influential bodies, make recommendations on language for describing people with mental health conditions. The present studies test the impact of the recommended language on stigma. In Study 1, participants (n = 294) were asked to complete measures of desire for social distance from individuals given a diagnostic label in either person-first possessive, identity-first noun, or identity-first adjective forms. Familiarity with the diagnoses was considered as a potential influence on the outcome. The 3*2 (linguistic form * experience) factorial design was repeated for three diagnoses - schizophrenia, anorexia and alcoholism. In Study 2, the research was replicated with a sample recruited from the UK population via social media (n = 230). Factorial ANOVA was used for analysis. In contrast with previous literature, the studies found neither an effect of linguistic form (hypothesis 1) nor an interaction effect with familiarity (hypothesis 2). Research on this topic is in an early stage and, above all, it remains important to use language, which shows respect when talking to or about others.
|Journal||International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction|
|Early online date||2 Dec 2022|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2022|
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- Person first language
- identity first language
- mental health