Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

1112

Date

2014

Date of Award

7-24-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Psychology

Concentration

General Psychology

Committee Chair

Meghan McDevitt-Murphy

Committee Member

Robert Neimeyer

Committee Member

Robert Cohen

Abstract

The present study used an experimental design to compare stigmatizing attitudes toward a hypothetical target individual described, depending on condition, as having Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or no diagnostic label. Attributions for the diagnostic label varied across conditions as either biological or psychological in cause. Participants were queried about their attitudes toward the individual described in the vignette, and specific attitudes involving personal responsibility, pity, anger, fear, helping, and beliefs about coercion-segregation were examined. Based on modified labeling theory and attribution theory, we predicted that the highest levels of stigmatizing attitudes would be reported by participants assigned to the PTSD label/psychological attribution cause condition. We also investigated reported level of contact with persons with mental illness, personal experience with mental disorder, trauma exposure, and experience with the military as potential covariates with relations between conditions and attitudes. Contrary to hypotheses, overall stigmatizing attitudes were most pronounced in the no label/no attribution condition. Examination of the specific attitudes mentioned above (e.g., personal responsibility) resulted in mixed findings, some in line with extant theory and some in contrast. Findings are discussed in terms of foundational theory, implications, and directions for future research.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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