ERIC Number: ED237838
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-May-7
Reference Count: N/A
Perceived Unpredictability and Dangerousness of Mentally and Physically Handicapped Persons Encountered in Public Places.
Lueger, Robert J.; Ostrowski, Michael
Since 1955, deinstitutionalization has brought 1.5 million chronic mental patients back into the community. Studies have shown that perception and citizen support of this population vary greatly. To investigate responses to encounters with chronic mental patients in public settings, 160 college students responded to vignettes manipulated for four variables: chronic versus physically handicapped person; confined versus unconfined situation; approached or not approached by a handicapped person; and presence or absence of witnesses. The subjects made judgments on aversiveness, unpredictability, and dangerousness, as well as reactions to the situation. An analysis of the results showed that citizens are very uncomfortable in encounters with chronic mental patients and that they find chronic mental patients to be very unpredictable and somewhat dangerous. The most favored response to this population was avoidance and disengagement. Citizens felt in more danger in open settings than in confined ones, and in less danger in the presence of witnesses.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A