Perceived dangerousness and attributions about the cause of the mental disorder were significant predictors of support for legally mandated treatment.
Opponents question the therapeutic effectiveness of legally mandated treatment and rightfully argue that research supporting its use in many forms is lacking.
Several recent studies have examined public views of legally mandated treatment and found that when respondents perceived that a hypothetical individual was dangerous, they were more likely to endorse forced treatment for that individual (Corrigan, Markowitz, Watson, Rowan, & Kubiak, 2003; Pescosolido et al.
Indeed, these perceptions influence endorsement of legally mandated treatment (Corrigan et al.
2000; Phelan, Link, Stueve, & Pescosolido, 2000), they did not examine the relative impact of attributions of cause and perceptions of dangerousness on support for legally mandated treatment.
It allows for the specification and testing of complex path models that examine mediational relationships and the causal processes underlying the target phenomena (Kelloway, 1998), in this case, attitudes about mental illness and support for legally mandated treatment.
However, the model explains only 2% of the variance in support for legally mandated treatment.
Results from these path models suggest that the perception of dangerousness to others partially mediates the relationship between attributions of bad character and support for legally mandated treatment.
Although mental illness condition had significant direct and indirect effects on support for legally mandated treatment, including it in the model did not significantly alter any of the relationships reported above.
When considering whether individuals should be subjected to legally mandated treatment, respondents relied heavily on their perceptions of dangerousness.