Social distance and stigma towards persons with serious mental illness among medical students in five European Central Asia countries

Kerim Munir, Ozgur Oner, Coskun Kerala, Ikram Rustamov, Hamit Boztas, Konrad Juszkiewicz, Anna Wloszczak-Szubzda, Zhanna Kalmatayeva, Aygun Iskandarova, Sevda Zeynalli, Dragan Cibrev, Lyazzat Kosherbayeva, Nermin Miriyeva, Mirosław Jerzy Jarosz, Kural Kurakbayev, Ewelina Soroka, Sanja Mancevska, Nermin Novruzova, Melda Emin, Marcin OlajossyStojan Bajraktarov, Marija Raleva, Ashok Roy, Muhammad Waqar Azeem, Marco Bertelli, Luis Salvador-Carulla, Afzal Javed

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The study investigated behavioral measures of social distance (i.e., desired proximity between self and others in social contexts) as an index of stigma against those with mental illness among medical students in Republic of North Macedonia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Poland, using the Reported and Intended Behavior Scale (RIBS), a standardized, self-administered behavioral measure based on the Star Social Distance Scale. The students’ responses to standardized clinical vignettes on schizophrenia, and depression with suicidal ideation, were also assessed. A total of 257 North Macedonian (females, 31.5%; 1–4 grades, 189; 5–6 grades, 68); 268 Turkish (females, 43.3%; 1–4 grades, 90; 5–6 grades, 178); 450 Kazakh (females, 28.4%, 71.6%; 1–4 grades, 312; 5–6 grades, 138); 512 Azerbaijani (females, 24%; 1–4 grades, 468; 5–6 grades, 44; females, 24%), and 317 Polish (females, 59.0%; 1–4 grades, 208; 5–6 grades, 109) students were surveyed. The responses on the RIBS social distance behavior measures did not improve with advancing medical school grade, but students across all sites viewed schizophrenia and depression as real medical illnesses. The results support the development of enhanced range of integrated training opportunities for medical student to socially interact with persons with mental illness sharing their experiences with them.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number114409
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychiatry Research
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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