Original ArticlesKnowledge of and Stigma Associated With Mental Disorders in a South African Community SampleSorsdahl, Katherine R. PhD; Stein, Dan J. MD, PhDAuthor Information Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Send reprint requests to Katherine Sorsdahl, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, J2-Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory, Cape Town 7925, South Africa. E-mail: [email protected]. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: October 2010 - Volume 198 - Issue 10 - p 742-747 doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181f4b2d7 Buy Metrics Abstract The aim of this study was to assess the awareness of, attitudes toward, and stigma associated with psychiatric disorders among South Africans. A convenience sample of 1081 members of the general public participated in the study. One of 10 vignettes portraying different psychiatric disorders with subtle or obvious symptoms was presented to each respondent. Schizophrenia was reported as being the most representative of a psychiatric disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder as the least representative. Psychosocial stress was reported more frequently than medical etiologies as a possible cause of mental disorders. Seeking help from a health professional in the form of psychotherapy was often endorsed as an effective treatment option, whereas taking medication was rarely endorsed. Respondents held more stigmatizing attitudes toward patients with substance abuse and schizophrenia, whereas post-traumatic stress disorder was stigmatized significantly less than the other conditions. Further effort is required to educate the public about the psychobiological underpinnings of psychiatric disorders and about the value of effective treatments. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.