Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Sat Ananda Hayden

Advisor Department



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).