Implicit models of mental disorder across the life-span : a comparison of older and younger adults

Harnett, Hedley (1996). Implicit models of mental disorder across the life-span : a comparison of older and younger adults. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e120

Abstract

The implicit models of mental disorder held by a group of older adults (n=25) and younger adults (n=28) were examined, using a questionnaire focusing on vignette - case descriptions developed on the basis of previous research in the field. Older and younger adults were found to have highly comparable beliefs and opinions. There were some significant differences between the groups such as in the weight attached to certain causative factors in relation to specific problems and in terms of overall style of causal explanation, where older adults lay greater weight on the role of 'difficulties in personal relationships'. Older adults were also more likely to view inpatient psychiatric treatment as necessary for a number of problems and cited different sources for their views and opinions from younger adults. Clinical implications are discussed and suggestions for further research made.

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