School of Communication and Digital Content


Master of Arts in Communication (MA)


Faith E Mullen

Primary Subject Area

Sociology, General; Sociology, Theory and Methods; Health Sciences, Public Health; Health Sciences, Mental Health


Gender, Mental Illness, Perceptions, Religious Involvement, Social Judgment Theory, Stigma


Communication | Health Communication | Mental and Social Health | Public Health | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology


Due to the alarming level of stigma associated with individuals with a mental illness, this present study seeks to understand the variables that influence perceptions of the mentally ill. The research questions for this study are as follows: RQ1: What are the latitudes of acceptance, rejection and non-commitment that college students identify in their perceptions of the mental health community?, RQ2: Does gender influence college student perceptions of the mentally ill?, and RQ3: Does the level of religious involvement that college students identify correlate to their perceptions of the mentally ill? The 257 participants completed an online survey that assessed their perceptions through demographic history, a Bogardus social distance scale and the Community Attitudes Toward the Mentally Ill (CAMI) assessment. The results indicated that participants held a largely positive and non-stigmatizing view of the mentally ill and that gender and religious involvement did not significantly influence perceptions of the mentally ill.