Public perception of alcohol dependence

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Objective: To describe how the population of the city of São Paulo identifies alcohol dependence, which causes they attribute to this disorder and what is reported regarding stigma perception, risk of violence and emotional reactions. Method: Cross sectional study involving a probabilistic sample of 500 individuals in São Paulo aged 18 to 65 years. A structured questionnaire was used and started with a vignette describing an individual with alcohol dependence according to the DSM-IV and ICD-10, followed by a questionnaire divided into various sections examining the causes, stigma, risk of violence and emotional reactions to the case presented in the vignette. Results: Less than 20% of the subjects reported to believe this was a mental illness. The causes considered most relevant were psychosocial ones, followed by moral causes. Alcohol dependence was associated with a high risk of violence and stigma by the part of others. In contrast, reactions declared by the subjects about their probable attitude were mostly positive. Conclusion: Alcohol dependence is seen as a psychosocial and moral problem. Negative images predominate regarding individuals with this disorder.




Peluso, E. D. T. P., & Blay, S. L. (2008). Public perception of alcohol dependence. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 30(1), 19–24.

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