Examining the stigma of mental illness across the lifespan

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Diane M. Lowder (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Advisor
Len Lecci

Abstract: Stigma related to mental illness can deter help-seeking in those who need it and result in discrimination. Studies indicate that negative attitudes toward and social distance from the mentally ill are greater among males, and those with less education and less familiarity with mental illness. This study examines attitudes toward the mentally ill among older and young adults in order to determine whether differences exist. We proposed that older adults might have more positive attitudes toward and less social distance from people with mental illness. Participants were 70 college-age students enrolled in a Psychology 105 course and 78 older adults involved in educational programming at a Senior Center. The survey consisted of a set of demographic questions, the Community Attitudes toward the Mentally Ill (CAMI) Survey, and a modified version of the Social Distance Scale. Older adults indicated greater familiarity with mental illness, but more negative attitudes and more social distance than college-age respondents. Across age groups, women and those who were familiar with mental illness scored higher on the positive attitudes subscale and lower on the negative attitudes subscale of the CAMI. Simply having familiarity with mental illness does not mean attitudes will be more positive and that attributions made by older adults may differ from those of younger adults.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Mental illness--United States, Mental illness--Social aspects, Stigma (Social psychology)
Subjects
Mental illness -- Social aspects
Stigma (Social psychology)
Mental illness -- United States