Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Psychological Sciences

Document Type



Stigma is best defined as the disapproval and shame felt by people who display characteristics not widely accepted in society. Although mental illness has become more prevalent in society through advocacy and awareness campaigns, it fails to be accepted and often individuals may feel shame that prevents them from seeking help (Dyrbye, Eacker, Durning, Brazeau, Moutier, Massie, S., et al, 2015; Givens & Tjia, 2002). Physicians in particular have been shown to have decreased help-seeking behaviors for psychological issues due to fear of professional repercussions (Dyrbye et al., 2015). Physicians also show increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and elevated rates of suicide compared to their age and gender-matched peers (Lindeman, Laara, Hakko, & Lonnqvist, 1996). Medical students also show similar levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and internalization of stigma towards mental health (Givens &Tjia, 2002; Zisook, Young, Doran, Downs, Hadley, et al., 2016). The current study aimed to replicate these findings in an undergraduate population by comparing the levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and internalization of mental health stigma between pre-professional students (pre-medicine, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, etc.) and their age-matched peers measured via an online Qualtrics survey. Pre-professional and non-pre professional students showed equal levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. However, pre-professional students had lower levels of awareness of mental health stigma held by the public (p = .025) compared to their peers.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Amy Brausch, Jenni Teeters, Sonia Young


Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry and Psychology | School Psychology