Event Title

Students' Attitudes towards Mental Illness: A Comparative Analysis

Poster Number

023

Faculty Mentor

Monique Constance-Huggins, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Social Work

Location

Rutledge

Start Date

20-4-2018 12:00 PM

End Date

20-4-2018 2:00 PM

Description

The number of people with mental illnesses continues to increase greatly, yet these remain some of the most stigmatized illnesses in the U.S. The stigma held about mental illness can affect the way individuals are treated in society. This study examinines attitudes towards mental illness among college students. Given that attitudes may vary by areas of study, this research specifically compares social work and non-social work students’ attitudes. Comparing the attitudes of social work students with those of other students could gauge the adequacy of the education that social work students are receiving on mental illness. The study employed a cross-sectional survey design. Data were collected on a convenience sample of 90 students using a twenty-item survey. Forty-six percent of the participants were social workers and fifty-four percent represented other majors. Results from the study support the hypothesis that social work students have more positive attitudes about mental illness than non-social work students. For example, using the Mann-Whitney test, the study found that social work students were less likely to agree that individuals with mental illness are a danger, unpredictable, and difficult to talk to. They were also most likely to disagree with the idea that people are generally sympathetic to those who suffer from a mental illness. This difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The study findings have implications for teaching content on mental illness across all majors.

Previously Presented/Performed?

National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), University of Central Oklahoma, April 2018

Course Assignment

SCWK 473 – Constance-Huggins)

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Apr 20th, 12:00 PM Apr 20th, 2:00 PM

Students' Attitudes towards Mental Illness: A Comparative Analysis

Rutledge

The number of people with mental illnesses continues to increase greatly, yet these remain some of the most stigmatized illnesses in the U.S. The stigma held about mental illness can affect the way individuals are treated in society. This study examinines attitudes towards mental illness among college students. Given that attitudes may vary by areas of study, this research specifically compares social work and non-social work students’ attitudes. Comparing the attitudes of social work students with those of other students could gauge the adequacy of the education that social work students are receiving on mental illness. The study employed a cross-sectional survey design. Data were collected on a convenience sample of 90 students using a twenty-item survey. Forty-six percent of the participants were social workers and fifty-four percent represented other majors. Results from the study support the hypothesis that social work students have more positive attitudes about mental illness than non-social work students. For example, using the Mann-Whitney test, the study found that social work students were less likely to agree that individuals with mental illness are a danger, unpredictable, and difficult to talk to. They were also most likely to disagree with the idea that people are generally sympathetic to those who suffer from a mental illness. This difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The study findings have implications for teaching content on mental illness across all majors.