Date of Award

Fall 12-31-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Philip Yanos

Second Reader

Diana Falkenbach

Third Advisor

Kevin Nadal


The purpose of the current study is to understand the factors that impact how persons experiencing subclinical psychological symptoms or an undiagnosed but clinically significant psychological problem perceive individuals who been diagnosed with mental illness. Previous literature has investigated the experiences of discrimination among those with mental health problems, but not their attitudes and behavior towards individuals among their in-group. It was hypothesized that individuals with an emerging mental health problem will have higher rates of implicit bias and perpetrate more microaggressions towards those with a mental illness in order to remove themselves from a group that is associated with a great deal of public stigma. Researchers also investigated self-awareness of a mental health problem arising and experiences of racial discrimination as mediators of the relationship. Results indicated that individuals with an emerging mental illness perceived public stigma to be greater than those individuals with no emerging mental illness, but did not have more self-stigma, implicit bias, or perpetrate more microaggressions. Self-awareness moderated the relationship between an emerging mental illness and the perception of public stigma. Individuals with an emerging mental illness reported experiencing more racial microaggressions and discrimination than those individuals without an emerging mental illness.



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