JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 579
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Social Statistics Section
Abstract - #302904
Title: A Just World? Processes of Social Stigma in Mental Illness
Author(s): Daniel J. Yanosky*+
Companies: Kennesaw State University
Address: 1000 Chastain Road, MD #1601, Kennesaw, GA, 30144, USA
Keywords: Mental Health ; Mental Disorders ; Public Opinion ; Structural Equation Modeling

Social stigma negatively impacts the lives of individuals suffering from mental illness directly and indirectly by inhibiting help-seeking behaviors. In order to better understand stigma, we hypothesized a number of respondent and situational variables to influence social stigma. A 48-item survey was administered to N = 466 university students in the Southeastern United States. Each survey 1) presented a vignette describing a character with mental illness, 2) asked respondents to rate their attitudes towards the character, and 3) measured respondents' level of possessing a just-world view. A just-world view is characterized by the belief that individuals create and therefore are responsible for their own condition. Variables included the gender, ethnicity, danger level, and controllability of the character/situation, and respondent age, gender, ethnicity, and just-world view. Two structural regression models were fit to the data. Results demonstrated that mentally-ill women were stigmatized less than men, no significant effect of just-world view on stigma was detected, and African American and Caucasian mentally-ill individuals were not stigmatized differently, among others.

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