A new study, which looks at how the public often conceptualise mental disorders in a different way to mental health professionals, uses the Maudsley Attitude Questionnaire as part of its methodology.
Titled “Concepts of mental disorders in the United Kingdom: Similarities and differences between the lay public and psychiatrists”, and authored by Ben Butlin, Keith Laws, Rebecca Read, Matthew D Broome and Shivani Sharma, the study is published in International Journal of Social Psychiatry, July 2019.
The Maudsley Attitude Questionnaire (MAQ), typically used to assess mental health professional’s concepts of mental disorders, was adapted for use by a lay community sample. The results were compared with a sample of psychiatrists.
The study finds: “The MAQ appeared to be accessible to the lay public, providing some interesting preliminary findings: in order, the lay sample reported having the best understanding of depression followed by generalised anxiety, schizophrenia and finally antisocial personality disorder. They best understood spiritualist, nihilist and social realist theoretical models of these disorders, but were most likely to endorse biological, behavioural and cognitive models. The lay public were significantly more likely to endorse some models for certain disorders suggesting a nuanced understanding of the cause and likely cure, of various disorders. Ratings often differed significantly from the sample of psychiatrists who were relatively steadfast in their endorsement of the biological model.”
The original study that developed the use of the MAQ was ‘A study of psychiatrist’s concepts of mental illness’, lead by Robert Harland at King’s College London, who is also a Maudsley Philosophy Group trustee.