Date of Award

Summer 8-20-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Philip Yanos

Second Reader

Joseph DeLuca

Third Advisor

Veronica Johnson


There is evidence for the persistence of stigma towards people diagnosed with mental illness, as well as that endorsement of stigma is associated with reluctance to seek treatment. However, the process by which self-stigma impacts treatment choice amongst people with mental illness is not well understood. This study examined the impact of self-stigma on one’s decision to take medication or undergo psychotherapy; as well as the impact of stigma on choice of individual or group therapy. Surveys were administered through CloudResearch to 128 participants from the U.S, who reported a disorder diagnosed by a professional. The SSMIS-SF and ISMI-9 estimated self-stigma. The MHSAS and ATSPPH-SF distinguished attitudes towards help-seeking. Demographics were collected along with data related to treatment preference. Data were analyzed using correlations and ANOVA’s. Self-stigma was not related to treatment choice (medication, psychotherapy, or both). Men and women preferred psychotherapy and medication conjointly. Stigma didn't have an impact on attending psychotherapy but there was a significant difference between the attitudes scales and attendance of psychotherapy variable. Those who attended psychotherapy expressed more favorable attitudes. Men and women preferred individual therapy to group therapy. Negative correlations existed between self-stigma and attitudes. A significant difference appeared between the agree subscale and choices of psychotherapy. There was a statistically significant difference between the +/- treatment variable and ISMI-9 as well as with this variable and the MHSAS. Those with more negative views endorsed more stigma and less favorable attitudes. Generalizability was limited, therefore future studies should encompass a more diverse population.


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