Presentation Title

Experiment Among College Students to Determine Presence of Stigma to Mental Illness Utilizing Hypothetical Scenarios Comparing Potential Roommate with Bipolar Disorder with Control

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 355

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

Mental illnesses are profoundly stigmatized health conditions. Stigma toward mental illness is exhibited by individuals, families, social groups, communities, and societies (Dharitri, Rao, & Kalyanasundaram, 2015). Associated stigma becomes an obstacle to housing, employment, socialization, and marriage (Dharitri, Rao, & Kalyanasundaram, 2015). The present study sought to investigate stigma toward mental illness when evaluating a potential roommate. We hypothesized that participants would exhibit more stigma toward a potential roommate with mental illness than toward a roommate with a physical condition. Forty students from a large community college, ages 18-35, were asked to imagine a potential roommate. Half of the participants read a scenario in which a potential roommate had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, while the other half read about a potential roommate with severe migraines. Participants were asked to rate their comfort level with the potential roommate, comfort level with the bipolar disorder or migraines, friendship potential, and the roommate’s effectiveness at handling responsibilities. A one-tailed independent t-test indicated significant differences in responses to the two scenarios, which supported our hypothesis. Specifically, items concerning comfort level with the roommate, comfort level with the bipolar disorder, and friendship potential received significantly lower ratings. Previous research has shown that labels of mental illness negatively impact a person’s willingness to socially engage with individuals with mental illness (Martin, Pescosolido, and Tuch, 2000). Our results suggest that much needs to be done to improve attitudes towards persons with mental illness.

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Nov 12th, 2:45 PM Nov 12th, 3:00 PM

Experiment Among College Students to Determine Presence of Stigma to Mental Illness Utilizing Hypothetical Scenarios Comparing Potential Roommate with Bipolar Disorder with Control

HUB 355

Mental illnesses are profoundly stigmatized health conditions. Stigma toward mental illness is exhibited by individuals, families, social groups, communities, and societies (Dharitri, Rao, & Kalyanasundaram, 2015). Associated stigma becomes an obstacle to housing, employment, socialization, and marriage (Dharitri, Rao, & Kalyanasundaram, 2015). The present study sought to investigate stigma toward mental illness when evaluating a potential roommate. We hypothesized that participants would exhibit more stigma toward a potential roommate with mental illness than toward a roommate with a physical condition. Forty students from a large community college, ages 18-35, were asked to imagine a potential roommate. Half of the participants read a scenario in which a potential roommate had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, while the other half read about a potential roommate with severe migraines. Participants were asked to rate their comfort level with the potential roommate, comfort level with the bipolar disorder or migraines, friendship potential, and the roommate’s effectiveness at handling responsibilities. A one-tailed independent t-test indicated significant differences in responses to the two scenarios, which supported our hypothesis. Specifically, items concerning comfort level with the roommate, comfort level with the bipolar disorder, and friendship potential received significantly lower ratings. Previous research has shown that labels of mental illness negatively impact a person’s willingness to socially engage with individuals with mental illness (Martin, Pescosolido, and Tuch, 2000). Our results suggest that much needs to be done to improve attitudes towards persons with mental illness.