An Experimental Examination of the Impact of Perceived Stigma of Mental Health Problems on Help-Seeking Attitudes
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
In any year, one in four British adults will experience a mental disorder (Singleton, Bumpstead, O’Brien, Lee, & Meltzer, 2001), but barriers to accessing treatment remain, one being fear of stigmatization. In this study perceptions of the stigma associated with mental illness were experimentally manipulated and perceived public stigma of help-seeking, attitudes to mental illness, self-stigma, and attitudes to help-seeking were measured. Results indicated that lowering perceived social stigma of mental illness reduced perceived public stigma attached to help-seeking, but also resulted in less positive attitudes to help-seeking, when compared to a neutral condition. The relationship between perceived societal stigma of mental illness and attitudes to help-seeking was mediated by perceived public stigma of seeking psychological help. This research raises questions about the effect of anti-stigma campaigns, which aim to change perceptions about stigma but may have a negative effect on attitudes to help-seeking.
Doctor of Clinical Psychology