Lisa Gassin, PhD
Scholarship of Discovery
Stigma exists in some capacity towards mental illness. This stigma is a barrier to mental health services for some people. Rural populations are known to have more stigma than their urban counterparts. This is on top of already lacking access to mental health services. This especially affects children. Polaha and Williams (2015) found stigma to be negatively correlated with willingness to seek help in rural parents. This study sought to explore this relationship in a more generalized sample. I posted a survey on Amazon Mechanical Turk that screened for rural parents of children under the age of 18. It included a two-factor measure of self and public stigma and a one item assessment of willingness to seek mental health services for their children. Eighty-one responses were used to analyze for correlational relationships between variables including age, gender, perceived public stigma, perceived self-stigma, and willingness to seek mental health services for their children. Analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between public and self-stigma. It revealed a significant negative correlation between self-stigma and age. It revealed a significant negative correlation between self-stigma and expressed willingness to seek help from a mental health professional for children. The finding that more perceived self-stigma makes someone less likely to seek mental health services supports findings from previous studies. However, it is curious that only self-stigma and not public stigma was found to be a predictor. More studies would have to be done to establish a cause and effect relationship.
Smith, Reed M., "Stigma as a Predictor of Parental Willingness to Seek Mental Health Services for Their Children in Rural America" (2018). Honors Program Projects. 88.