In order to better understand stigma associated with mental health treatment, 118 Clemson University students completed Implicit Association Tasks (IAT) and self-report surveys. The IAT presented terms associated with either medical or psychological treatments or patients, paired with additional positive or negative terms (e.g., good vs. bad). Survey items assessed attitudes towards mental health and medical treatment, as well as mental health and medical patients. Responses from the IAT and survey were compared regarding mental health versus medical treatments and mental health versus medical patients. The IAT results revealed a significant negative implicit bias toward mental health treatment and mental health patients. Explicit survey measures also showed more negative responses toward mental health treatment and patients. Our findings provide both implicit and explicit evidence of stigma associated with mental health treatment and patients. Through better understanding these biases, researchers can work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health treatment.
Peasley, A.; Jeffirs, S.; Zaremba, B.; Lee, A.; Rivera, K.; Palmer, J.; Goguen, K.; Jennings, K.; and Britt, T. Jr., "Implicit and explicit stigma towards mental health treatment" (2014). Focus on Creative Inquiry. 63.