Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Kevin M. Summers

Second Advisor

Gina A. Paganini

Third Advisor

E. Paige Lloyd

Fourth Advisor

Max Weisbuch


Person-first language, Controllability, Mental health stigma, Dimensions of stigma


Although past work consistently demonstrates perceivers stigmatize mental illness; which dimensions of stigma are relevant for specific conditions remains debated (Brohan et al., 2010). In the current work, we manipulated (between subjects) the controllability of fictitious mental illnesses and examined participants stigmatization across six dimensions (Fear, Help, Forcing Treatment, and Negative Emotions; Brown, 2008). We also examined whether effects of controllability were moderated by language (within subjects; person-first vs identity-first). We consistently found effects of controllability such that participants in the low (compared to high) condition responded with more fear, empathy, negative emotion, and intention to force treatment, but also attributed less responsibility and reported less tendency to help. Participants responded with more negative emotion toward a condition describe with person-first (relative to identity-first). We found no evidence that language moderated effects of controllability. This work highlights the multifaceted nature of mental health stigma, and suggests that controllability may be an important, but nuanced, factor in mental health stigma.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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Available for download on Monday, July 01, 2024