Stigmatizing Attitudes Towards Mental Illness




Luna, Mackenzie G.

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This study investigates whether education has an effect on stigmatizing attitudes towards mental illness among college students. A survey was administered measuring the prevalence of stigma towards mental disorders. Two samples of undergraduate students (Abnormal Psychology and Non-Abnormal Psychology) were questioned on their perceptions of hypothetical persons who embodied one of the following mental disorders: depression, schizophrenia, social anxiety disorder, or posttraumatic stress disorder. A series of Independent samples t-tests were performed to determine which mental disorder had the highest stigma. A significant amount of stigma was found towards schizophrenia and social anxiety disorder. No significant difference in total stigma was found between the abnormal and the non-abnormal sample, but a significant difference was found in total social distance; suggesting having an understanding of mental illness may change an individual’s perceptions of mental illness. These findings suggest that education alone cannot be a sole predictor of stigma but may influence the individual’s understanding of those diagnosed with a mental disorder.



stigma, mental illness, mental disorders, depression, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, education, Honors College


Luna, M. G. (2016). Stigmatizing attitudes towards mental illness (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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