Objective – Description of the opinions about causes and psychosocial consequences of schizophrenia in a sample of psychiatric professionals, recruited in 29 Italian Mental Health Centres (MHC). Design – Each professional was asked to read a case-vignette describing a patient who met the ICD-10 criteria for schizophrenia. Referring to case-vignette, he/she was asked to fill the Questionnaire on the Opinions about Mental Illness – Professionals' version (QO-P). Professionals' opinions were explored in relation to: a) their socio-demographic variables and professional background; b) geographic location of the MHC. Setting – 29 MHC stratified by geographic area (Northern, Central, Southern Italy) and population density of their catchment areas (> 100000 inhabitants; between 100000 and 25000 inhabitants; < 25000 inhabitants) and randomly selected. Results – Data on 465 professionals were collected. 75% of the sample identified in the vignette a case of schizophrenia, 22% of depression/anxiety disorder. Factors most frequently mentioned as causes of the detected disorder were heredity (68%), stress (61%), family difficulties (46%). More pessimistic opinions about psychosocial consequences of schizophrenia were found among nurses and among professionals of Southern Italy, among those with lower educational level, older age and among those working longer in psychiatry. No statistical difference in the opinions about psychosocial consequences of schizophrenia was found among staff who referred the case-vignette to schizophrenia and those who did not. Conclusions – The results of this study outline the need to: a) include issues such as disability and psychosocial consequences of mental disorders in the basic training of professionals; b) increase the number of professionals trained in evidence-based psychosocial interventions.