Maggie L Inman



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The topic of stigmatization of mental health disorders and use of psychological services has been widely researched. Gender differences have been found in attitudes regarding acceptability and treatment of mental health disorders, with adherence to gender roles influencing these attitudes. Past research has confined gender to a binary model of self-report and has not explored the concept of nontraditional gender roles; nor has it examined the influence of social factors, namely college adjustment, on perceptions of mental health. With many studies utilizing undergraduate students, it is important to understand how college adjustment may affect attitudes toward mental health. This study tested three hypotheses: that men and women with more feminine gender roles will display more accepting attitudes toward individuals with mental health disorders, that men and women with poorer college adjustment will also display more accepting attitudes toward these individuals, and that the relationship between college adjustment and attitudes towards mental disorders will be moderated by gender role traits. Participants were PSY 101 students and received research credit for their participation. Correlations and regression analyses were used to compare responses between groups based on gender role traits and college adjustment. Results indicated no significant relationship between gender roles and attitudes towards mental disorders, but a significant relationship was found between college adjustment and these attitudes, with poorer college adjustment predicting more negative attitudes towards mental disorders. The study also found that gender role traits strengthen this relationship between college adjustment and attitudes towards mental disorders. Results of this study could help reduce mental disorder stigma by identifying which factors contribute to the stigmatization. The results could also help university counseling centers to normalize mental disorders and psychological services by using advertising to target the least accepting demographic.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis - Undergraduate

Primary Advisor

Melissa J. Layman-Guadalupe

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Behind the Stigma: An Examination of the Impact of Gender and College Adjustment on Attitudes Towards Mental Health Disorders