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Opinions on mental illness in Israel

Michael Rahav, Elmer L. Struening and Howard Andrews

Social Science & Medicine, 1984, vol. 19, issue 11, pages 1151-1158

Abstract: The study used the Cohen and Struening OMI questionnaire to survey the opinions on mental illness and the mentally ill in Israel's population, and identify underlying domains behind these opinions. Factor analyzing the Israeli respondents' scores on the OMI questionnaire, there was found to be marked similarity in the gestalts underlying the opinions on mental illness in Israel and those found in numerous studies in the U.S.A. The study identified four distinct domains behind people's opinions on mental illness in Israel: social restrictiveness, mental health ideology, authoritarianism and interpersonal etiology. The paper reports the mean score on each of the OMI questionnaire items. These data suggest that people in Israel hold dual, inconsistent opinions on the mentally ill. On the one hand they showed a great deal of liberalism, tolerance and human orientation on issues concerning the treatment of mental illness, their civil rights and their acceptance into the main stream of society. On the other hand, the respondents demonstrated fear, mistrust and rejection of the mentally ill on issues concerning close, more intimate involvement with them. The study found opinions on the mentally ill to be affected by people's education, age and religiosity.

Date: 1984
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