Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Tamara L. Brown

Abstract

Although African Americans endorse more stigma towards those with mental illnesses than European Americans and are quite susceptible to stigma’s detrimental effects on help-seeking for mental health problems, stigma has not been adequately studied for African Americans. Given that stigma is a key barrier to obtaining help for mental health problems, it is imperative that we gain a more nuanced understanding of stigma. This study used experimental design and vignettes to examine the influence of acculturation and labeling on African Americans’ stigmatization of depression, social phobia, alcohol dependence, and schizophrenia. Results indicated that schizophrenia was generally the most stigmatized disorder and social phobia was least stigmatized. Having a label predicted increased desire for social distance from vignette subjects with depressive symptoms only. Additionally, acculturation predicted stigmatization of depression and social phobia.

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