Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Kathryn Anthony

Advisor Department

Communication Studies


Patients with mental illness often report feeling stigmatized by their mental healthcare providers, which may deter them from seeking care services altogether. Although workplace interventions can be implemented to reduce stigma, outcomes are limited and may not be long-lasting. The objectives of this study are to investigate which variables of interpersonal communication are significant predictors of medication adherence and mental health outcomes in patients with mental illness. This study surveyed 258 participants from the United States who were at least 18 years of age and reported seeing a mental healthcare provider and taking psychotropic medication within the past five years. Each respondent completed an online survey that involved the following measures: patient-perceived stigmatization, patient-physician communication, trust, satisfaction, medication adherence, and mental health outcomes. Responses suggested that the presence of patient-perceived stigma reveals statistically inverse relationships with patient-provider communication, trust, and satisfaction. Significant predictors of medication adherence included patient-perceived stigma, patient-provider communication, trust, and satisfaction. The only identified significant predictor for mental health outcomes was satisfaction. The responses to survey questions suggested patient-provider communication skills must be taught to mental health providers, leading to enhanced mental healthcare satisfaction and ultimately, improved care for patients treated for mental illness.