Stigma Of Mental Illness And Substance Use Disorders: Does Religious Fundamentalism Play A Role?

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily A. Rowe (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Jacqueline Hersh

Abstract: Stigmatization of severe mental illness and substance use disorders is widespread and associated with poorer health outcomes. At the same time, religious fundamentalism - defined as strict adherence to religious dogma - is an increasingly relevant ideology in the United States. This ideology is associated with a tendency to stigmatize individuals who do not adhere to established values and may therefore have negative implications for perceptions of mental illness. For the present study, participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (N = 380) identified as evangelical or not and were randomly assigned to view one of three illness vignettes: schizophrenia, alcohol use disorder, and asthma (control). Then, each participant responded to the Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Mental Illness scale for the character presented in the vignette. Evangelical participants reported significantly higher stigmatization of schizophrenia compared to non-evangelicals, but did not differ on stigma in relation to alcohol use disorder. These findings might be explained by religious factors in the presentation and treatment of the disorders, base rates, and general population stigmatization trends. Although limited by the use of vignettes and a self-report measure of stigma, these findings underscore the need to address religious belief adherence in stigma research and psychological treatment.

Additional Information

Rowe, E. (2019). Stigma Of Mental Illness And Substance Use Disorders: Does Religious Fundamentalism Play A Role? Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Stigma, religious fundamentalism, evangelicalism, severe mental illness, substance use disorders

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