Public Perception about Mental Illness: A Comparison of Persons Living in Rural and Urban Areas

Author: Farah Yaqoob

Supervisor: Rukhsana Kausar, Ph.D

Degree: MSc

Year: 2012-2014

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The present study was designed to examine the public perception about
mental illness and compare the perception of people living in rural and
urban areas. It was hypothesized that people living in urban areas are
likely to differ on their perception about mental illness from people living
in rural areas. It was also hypothesized that there are gender differences in
perception about mental illness. Between group design was used in the
study. Sample consisted of 200 people, 100 from rural areas and 100 from
urban areas. Data were collected from different schools, colleges,
universities for urban participants and for rural participants different
villages were approached by the researcher. Data were analyzed by
independent sample t-test to see whether people living in urban areas are
differed from people living in rural areas. Two Way ANOVA was applied
to see gender differences and age differences in public perception about
mental illness of rural and urban areas. Results showed there are no
differences between people living in rural and urban areas in perception
about mental illness and older adults perceived mental illness more
stigmatized. These findings are important for mental health and public
health professionals who may be trying to address health care disparities
between mental health care in urban and rural regions of Pakistan.
Determining how to raise awareness about the impact of mental illness, to
allocate funds for sensitizing and educating the public, and develop
treatment programs all depend on accurate understandings of how
different segments of the population view the issue of mental illness.

Keywords: Public Perception, Mental Illness, Rural, Urban.

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Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245

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