Interpersonal contact and acceptance of persons with psychiatric disorders: a research synthesis

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Humans; *Interpersonal Relations; Mental Disorders; Mental Health Services


Medical Education | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


This meta-analytic review predicted and confirmed that interpersonal contact between mental health employees or students and persons diagnosed with psychiatric disorders is associated with improved attitudes toward the latter group. As also predicted, the amount of attitude change was found to be smaller, although still significant, when the evaluative measure described a group of the "mentally ill" rather than specific individuals, and when the respondents were mental health employees rather than students. Contrary to predictions, contact interventions of longer duration were not associated with greater attitude changes. It is concluded that contact interventions occurring in mental health settings are effective in promoting attitude changes toward persons with psychiatric disorders, and methodological refinements that should strengthen the effectiveness of future contact interventions are outlined.


Citation: J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Dec;64(6):1387-96. DOI 10.1037/0022-006X.64.6.1387

At the time of publication, Monika Kolodziej was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID