Relational Correlates of Mental Illness Stigma in Female Adolescents Open Access

Greenblatt, Amy (2015)

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Limited research has examined the relationship between mental illness stigma and level of contact with persons with mental illness, nature of contact (severity of mental illness exposed to and relational strain attributed to mental illness), and mental health literacy in adolescent populations. Thus, we conducted an analysis exploring these associations cross-sectionally using baseline data from an intervention study in a sample of female adolescents (N=156). Stigma was measured using the modified five-item revised attribution questionnaire. No significant associations were found between mental illness stigma and level of contact, mental health literacy, and any sociodemographic variables (age, grade in school, race, and socioeconomic status). Severity of mental illness participants were exposed to (p=0.009) and relational strain attributed to mental illness (p=0.037) were significantly associated with mental illness stigma. Participants who reported knowing a person who had been treated for a mental illness in a psychiatric facility had lower stigma scores, and those who reported attributing relational strain to mental illness had higher stigma scores. Results suggest that adolescents who have contact with persons with more severe presentations of mental illness may have less stigmatizing attitudes towards mental illness. Additionally, findings suggest that adolescents who attribute a loss or worsening of a past personal relationship to mental illness may have more stigmatizing attitudes towards mental illness. Future research should explore these associations further with more in-depth measures in the context of both qualitative and quantitative studies as well as longitudinal studies that could illuminate causal relationships in order to inform subsequent intervention studies.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction...1

Chapter II: Literature Review...3

Prevalence and Impact of Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Female Adolescents...3

Stigma: A Barrier to Help-seeking and Mental Health Treatment in Adolescents...5

Intergroup Contact Theory...7

Literature Gaps Regarding Stigma in Adolescents...9

Level of Contact...9

Nature of Contact...10

Mental Health Literacy...11

Research Aim...12

Chapter III: Methods...13

Participants and Procedures...13


Data Analysis...18

Chapter IV: Results...19

Chapter V: Discussion...25

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