The survey questionnaire used by the Cummings in their mental health education experiment was designed to measure people’s attitudes toward mental illness. In particular, the Indian Head questionnaire was attempting to gauge how close of a relationship respondents were willing to have with someone who had a mental illness (using a social distance scale); and how responsible respondents saw themselves to be for causing another person’s mental illness as well as for their care (using a social responsibility scale). The first survey was carried out in September 1951 before the start of the experiment and the second survey was conducted after the experiment ended in May 1952. Some residents were also interviewed. A comparison of results from these two time periods, showed that attitudes toward mental illness did not change.
You can read the questionnaire here.
Which of the questions do you think were intended to measure social distance? Why?
Which of the questions do you think were intended to measure social responsibility? Why?
What other questions might you ask? Why?
What do your answers say about your attitude towards mental illness?