Contextualizing Public Stigma: Endorsed Mental Health Treatment Stigma on College and University Campuses

Social Science & Medicine 197, 183-191

30 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2017 Last revised: 22 Sep 2018

See all articles by S. Michael Gaddis

S. Michael Gaddis

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research

Daniel Ramirez

Pennsylvania State University, College of the Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology

Erik Hernandez

Pennsylvania State University, College of the Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology

Date Written: October 26, 2017

Abstract

Scholars suggest that public mental health stigma operates at a meso-level and is associated with severity of symptoms, disclosure, self-esteem, and treatment-seeking behavior. However, the operationalization of public stigma nearly always comes from an individual-level generalization of what others believe. Using data from over 60,000 students on 75 U.S. college and university campuses between 2009-2015, we contextualize public stigma by creating a school-level measure of students’ individual-level endorsed mental health treatment stigma. We present multilevel logistic regression models for 21 different dependent variables. We find that even after controlling for individual-level stigma scores, school-level stigma is negatively associated with self-reports of suicidal ideation and self-injury, although not associated with screens for depression or anxiety. Moreover, school-level stigma is negatively associated with medication use, counseling and therapy visits, and to a lesser degree, informal support. We suggest that future research should continue to examine the contextual environment of public stigma, while policymakers may be able to implement changes to significantly reduce stigma at this level.

Keywords: Stigma, Mental Health, Higher Education, Institutional Context

JEL Classification: I1, I10

Suggested Citation

Gaddis, S. Michael and Ramirez, Daniel and Hernandez, Erik, Contextualizing Public Stigma: Endorsed Mental Health Treatment Stigma on College and University Campuses (October 26, 2017). Social Science & Medicine 197, 183-191. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2978228 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2978228

S. Michael Gaddis (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research ( email )

337 Charles E Young Dr E
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Daniel Ramirez

Pennsylvania State University, College of the Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology ( email )

PA
United States

Erik Hernandez

Pennsylvania State University, College of the Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology ( email )

PA
United States

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