Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Justin Low

Second Committee Member

Eric G. Waldon


The general purpose of this study is to better understand stigmatized views of mental health conditions in the current social climate. In order to assess changes in current stigma levels, valid measurement tools are needed to make more accurate assessments. Many existing tools used to assess stigma levels present validity issues due to reporting bias, specifically social desirability bias. Researchers suggest that purposefully omitting diagnostic labeling helps to eliminate biased answers. In order to measure stigmatizing beliefs while minimizing the threat of social desirability, this study utilized an experimental design that compared mental health conditions with medical conditions. The Adjusted Attribution Questionnaire and Social Distance Scale were used to measure stigmatized beliefs toward each health conditions. Levels of familiarity and demographic characteristics were controlled for in analysis to determine potential mediating and moderating effects. Results indicate that familiarity had a significant effect on perceived attribution and preferred social distance for the mental health group. Gender also significantly affected outcomes on both stigma measures when considering mental health conditions. Ethnicity significantly affected both stigma measure outcomes for both the medical and mental health groups. Results may help contribute to current stigma reduction efforts by identifying research-based approaches to addressing stigma.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).