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Mental Health Stigma about Serious Mental Illness among MSW Students: Social Contact and Attitude
Social Work (2011)
  • Irene Covarrubias
  • Meekyung Han, San Jose State University
In this study, the attitudes toward and beliefs about serious mental illness (SMI) held by a group of graduate social work students in the northwestern United States were examined. Mental health stigma was examined with relation to the following factors: participants' level of social contact with SMI populations, adherence to stereotypes about SMI populations, belief in the ability to recover from SMI, and the belief that SMI defines an individual's identity. Measures used to identify mental health stigma included the desire for social distance and restrictions with relation to the SMI population. Survey results from 71 graduate social work students found that a significant number of participants who engaged in friendships with SMI-diagnosed individuals had less desire for social distance from and restrictions toward SMI populations. Participants who indicated that they believed in stereotypes of dangerousness and believed that SMI defines an individual's identity were more likely to express desire for both social distance and restrictions. Implications for social work and further research on the matter are discussed.
  • graduate social work students,
  • serious mental illness,
  • social contact,
  • stigma
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Citation Information
Irene Covarrubias and Meekyung Han. "Mental Health Stigma about Serious Mental Illness among MSW Students: Social Contact and Attitude" Social Work Vol. 56 Iss. 4 (2011) p. 317 - 325 ISSN: 1545-6846
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