Cross-Race Responses To Mental Illness Cues

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Much research suggests mental health diagnoses elicit stigmatization of individuals. The current study builds upon this literature at the intersection of same- and cross-race perceptions. Black and White participants viewed Black and White targets paired with either a mental health diagnosis (e.g., depression), a physical health diagnosis (e.g., high blood pressure), or no health information (control) while indicating each target’s favorability and how much social distance they would want from them. Overall, people were more stigmatizing toward targets with a mental health diagnosis than a physical health diagnosis or no diagnosis. Black targets with a mental health diagnosis were stigmatized more than White targets with a mental health diagnosis and White participants displayed a greater aversion to Black targets with a mental health diagnosis than did Black participants. Results contribute to the mental health stigma literature and suggest it may be particularly problematic for White perceivers’ attitudes toward Black individuals with mental health diagnoses. Findings may shed light on the racial differences in treatment-seeking amongst Black and White individuals.

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Journal of General Psychology

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