*WINNER* The Importance of Cultural Values in the Stigmatization of Mental Illness

  • Chassidy Overstreet


Research indicates that people often have negative perceptions towards those with a mental disorder. Otto (1999) concluded that when mental health consumers (N = 1,301) self-reported how they experience stigma; they were commonly hurt by “stigmatizing comments of depictions of mental illness” with 80% overhearing hurtful comments about mental illness. The current study examined perception of mental illness and attributions made about those with mental health diagnoses. Three-hundred and nine American and International students completed online stigma related questionnaires: The Beliefs towards Mental Illness Questionnaire (BMI), Perceived Stigma Questionnaire (PSQ), The Inventory of Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services (ATSMHS), the Physicians Trust Scale, and the Shortened Schwartz Value Survey (SSVS). Separate multiple regression analysis were performed on the BMI and PSQ, with personal relationship, respondents’ gender and ATSMHS, and SSVS as predictors using the backward elimination method. PSQ scores resulted in a best prediction equation PSQ = -0.08 (PersonalRelationship) + 3.39. Regression analysis of BMI scores yielded a best prediction equation of BMI = .22(PersonalRelationship)-0.11(Gender) + 0.05(Power) + 0.04(Achievement) - 0.06(Self-Direction) + 2.33. This result suggests those who do not personally know someone with a mental illness, males, those who place more importance on the values of Power and Achievement, and place less importance on the value of Self-Direction report significantly greater stigma towards those diagnosed with mental illnesses. These findings emphasize the significance of personal contact, cultural values, and how popular media, enculturation processes, and cultural differences require future research.
Education-Counseling and Psychology