School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations


Implicit Attitudes about Mental Illness in Saudi Arabia

Poster Number


Document Type



Research fellow

Abstract Category

Psychiatry/Mental Health


Implicit, Attitudes, Stigma

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access




Most people in Saudi Arabia have negative perspective towards psychiatrists and patients who seek help from them. This attitude makes people who affected by mental illness and their families hesitate before seeking help from psychiatrists and may prefer seeing Faith Healer instead of that. Properly, having a stigma and general lack of understanding of mental illness are the main reasons behind their decision.

In our study, we are looking for assess people’s knowledge and attitudes toward mental illness, psychiatric professionals and psychiatric symptoms, by utilizing methods that allow us to examine implicit vs. explicit attitudes toward mental illness and mental health professional, and measuring general knowledge of the symptoms of mental illness and as well as the role of mental health professionals.

The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of this attitudes about mental illness and mental health professionals on making decision to visit a psychiatric professional among Saudis who are living in Saudi Arabia vs. Saudis who are living in the United State.

We hypothesize that people living in Saudi Arabia will exhibit higher levels of explicit and implicit negative attitude and Saudis who are living in the United State will exhibit lower levels of explicit negative attitudes, but similar level of implicit negative attitudes toward mental illness and mental health professionals. The consequence of acculturation on explicit attitudes will be moderated by length of time in the United States, levels of knowledge of mental health symptoms and the roles of psychiatric professionals.


The implicit-Association test (IAT), is a measure within social psychology aim to recognize

traces of past experience that mediate favorable or unfavorable feeling, thought, or reaction toward social objects. The IAT may help researcher to get around the difficult problem of social desirability bias and for that reason it has been extensively to assess people’s attitudes towards commonly stigmatized groups. A computer- based measure, the IAT requires that participant rapidly categorize two target concepts with an attribute (e.g. the concepts “male” and “female with the attributes “logical”), such that easier pairing (faster responses) are interpreted as more strongly associated in memory than more difficult pairings (slow responses).

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Implicit Attitudes about Mental Illness in Saudi Arabia