RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION, MATURATION, SEX, AND OPINIONS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS

BEATRICE SAPER, Marquette University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of religious affiliation, age and sex on opinions about mental illness. The sample for this study consisted fo 160 equal number Catholic and Jewish male and female parochial high school students in the ninth and twelfth grade. The independent variables tested were the religious affiliation (Catholic and Jewish), maturation (14 and 17 year olds) and sex (male and female) as they affect opinions about mental illness. The dependent variables were the scores on the five factors or subscales of the "Opinion About Mental Illness" scale, (OMI). A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) of the five factors of the OMI yielded no evidence to reject the first null hypothesis, i.e., it was found that Catholic and Jewish students scores on five factors of the OMI were not statistically significantly different from each other. In addition, there were no statistically significant interaction effects i.e. year x religion, year x sex, religion x sex and year x religion x sex. The MANOVA did find that there were significant differences in the attitudes toward mental illness between 14 and 17 year olds on the factors of authoritarianism, benevolence, and social restrictiveness. These factors measure attitudes of acceptance and concern for the mentally ill as well as fear resulting in coercive treatment of the mentally ill. The 17 year olds had more favorable attitudes toward the mentally ill than the 14 year olds which is consistent with the theory of moral reasoning and social development of Kohlberg. It is of interest to note that the factors of mental hygiene ideology and interpersonal etiology were not significant for age. These factors measure attitudes of understanding that mental illness is an illness like any other, and beliefs regarding the cause of mental illness. Another finding was the significant difference between males' and females' attitude toward mental illness on the factors of authoritarianism, benevolence, mental hygiene ideology, social restrictiveness, and interpersonal etiology. The females had more favorable attitudes toward mental illness on all the factors than the males. This finding is consistent with the traditional views of the male and female role.

Recommended Citation

SAPER, BEATRICE, "RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION, MATURATION, SEX, AND OPINIONS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS" (1986). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI8708733.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8708733

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