Jurors’ Decision-making in a Mock Criminal Trial: The Role of Mental Health Information and Mental Health Literacy

O Leary, Cliodhna (2021) Jurors’ Decision-making in a Mock Criminal Trial: The Role of Mental Health Information and Mental Health Literacy. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Background: The decision-making of jurors relies on a number of factors, including their understanding of mental health information provided to them in court. Both mental health literacy (MHL) and the type of information provided may influence this decision-making and are under-researched areas within this field.
Aims: The thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of MHL as measured by the Mental Health Literacy Scale (MHLS) and to explore the impact of MHL and the presentation of mental health information on juror decision-making in a mock criminal trial.
Method: A systematic review of 16 studies using the MHLS explored definitions of MHL used, psychometric properties, populations studied, mean scores, and variables related to the MHLS. An empirical study used an experimental design in which three groups were provided with either no mental health information, a symptomatic description, or a symptomatic description and a diagnostic label of paranoid schizophrenia, to explore the effects of MHL and the information provided on guilt ratings.
Results: The MHLS has been widely used in a variety of populations, alongside a number of additional variables and shows reasonable psychometric performance. Higher scores are commonly associated with being female and having prior experience of mental health difficulties. Higher MHL was associated with lower ratings of guilt in a mock criminal trial. Participants who were given a symptomatic description and diagnostic label gave the lowest guilt ratings, while those who received no mental health information gave the highest.
Conclusions: MHL is an ambiguous concept with a literature base that lacks consistency of measurement. Both MHL and the type of information presented affected the guilt ratings of participants. This suggests that clinicians may have a role in the education of jurors with regards to mental health and should consider carefully the information they provide in court.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 12:12
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2021 12:20
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/82236

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