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Advisor: Martha C Romney, Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University


The objectives of this Capstone Project were to measure the current level of stigma around mental illness and to identify barriers to accessing care among Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) students. Stigma was measured using an Error-Choice Test (ECT). The ECT is a self-reported stigma test masked as a knowledge test, designed to measure stigma around mental health without drawing attention to the intent of the test. Three different ECT versions were disseminated electronically. Each ECT measured a distinct type of mental illness associated stigma: depression and mental illness, schizophrenia and mental illness, and mental illness alone. The ECT versions tested the hypothesized influence of the prevalence of stigma associated with each mental illness. Demographic factors, including gender, age, race, international student status, TJU College or School affiliation, and past mental health services utilization were also taken into account to predict stigma scores on all three ECTs. All degree-seeking students were invited to participate over a three-week period. A total of 933 responses were submitted. The ranges of the respective stigma scores were: Error-Choice Test Depression 0-10, Error-Choice Test Mental Illness 0-11, and Error-Choice Test Schizophrenia 0-11. It was found that race, international student status, and past utilization of counseling and/or medication for a behavioral health problem predict stigma scores. It was also found that there is considerable stigma associated with mental illness on campus.

Presentation: 21 minutes