Beliefs about and attitudes toward mental illness may be influenced by cultural- or country-specific contexts. Through a national survey, the current study investigated beliefs and attitudes toward people with schizophrenia and depression among the general public in Taiwan. A random-digit-dialing telephone-based cross-sectional survey was administered to Taiwanese adults aged 20–64 years (n = 1600). The data were analyzed through binary logistic regressions to test for differences between these disorders in causal beliefs, stereotypes, emotional reactions, desire for social distance, and help-seeking behavior. The results revealed that respondents were more concerned with biogenetic causal explanations for people with schizophrenia than for those with depression. Significantly more respondents perceived people with schizophrenia as more likely to be unpredictable and violent toward others. A similar trend was observed for the desire for social distance. For both disorders, respondents were significantly more likely to express compassion than to express anger toward the person described in the vignette. Respondents also expressed more desire for social distance from someone like the vignette who have received psychiatric treatment. These findings provide useful directions for the implementation of optimal psychoeducation among such communities.
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