This study uses data from the Mental Health Modules of the General Social Survey (1996 and 2006) to understand why some Americans endorse the involuntary use of psychiatric medication. Results indicated that in 1996 and 2006, 28 percent of Americans believed that people with mental illness should be forced by law to take psychiatric medication. The belief that people with mental illness are dangerous significantly contributed to Americans’ endorsement of this form of mandated treatment. Interestingly, the belief that mental illness is caused by stress increased the odds of support for mandated medication in 1996 and then reduced the odds of support in 2006. Moreover, stigmatizing preferences for social distance from those with mental illness were no longer contributing factors in 2006. It is still imperative, however, that public policy makers promote anti-stigma initiatives to reduce barriers to psychiatric treatment and counteract the public's lingering fear of people with mental illness.
- drug therapy
- mental disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health