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Ideas and Research You Can Use: VISTAS




Research shows that negative stereotyping leads to social stigmatization of those with mental illness resulting in self-stigmatization, lower self-esteem, diminished self-efficacy, and limited access to social support and mental health services for those with mental illness. Few studies have been conducted to identify who is most predisposed to be supportive of those with mental illness and who may be willing to advocate for greater access to services. The purpose of this study is to clarify who is most open to support and advocate for those with mental illness. Responses from a sample of 48 volunteer college students to a researcher-developed survey of attitudes towards mental illness were analyzed to determine which demographic factors were related to more accepting attitudes of those with mental illness. Results yielded significant main effects for gender F (1, 47) = 5.49, p < .05, and for those who have a relative with a mental illness, F (1, 47) = 17.82, p < .01. Results suggest that females and relatives of those with mental illness are more accepting and could be targeted to help reduce mental health stigma by advocating for, and serving as allies to, those with mental illnesses.


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