Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Sat Ananda Hayden, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Nursing

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to understand patterns of stigma among pre-nursing students. Past research has suggested that college students stigmatize mental illnesses. This study builds upon existing research and looks at how pre-nursing students perceive some mental illnesses. The goal of the study was to find out if there are differences in the way that pre-nursing students stigmatize people with substance use disorders (alcohol and drug abuse) and eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa). Using an electronic data collection tool, 523 pre-nursing students were invited to take the Attitudes to Mental Illness Questionnaire (AMIQ) and respond to four vignettes each about a different eating or substance use disorder. The AMIQ uses a scale for each vignette to determine the stigmatizing attitudes towards each condition presented. The results were analyzed to determine if respondents stigmatized conditions differently. Findings indicated that there was a high correlation in the scores of the two eating disorders presented. Using a Mann Whitney U test, the null hypothesis was rejected for differences in stigmatization based on heroin use, bulimia, and anorexia nervosa. A stigmatization effect was identified in respondents who reported having previous exposure to a mental illness and the vignette representing alcohol abuse (p = 0.009).

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