SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days

Award Level

1st Place - Empirical Graduate


Empirical Graduate


Mental health stigma is defined as stereotypes and prejudice resulting from misconceptions about mental illness (Corrigan Watson, 2002 Boor 1978 found simulated college voters cast fewer votes for a candidate when it was known the candidate had consulted a psychotherapist, indicating negative attitudes indeed exist towards perceived psychological treatment even in the absence of a diagnosed mental illness This poses a significant problem, as research suggests that voters may sense a desire to “get even” with political candidates in electoral context for perceived wrongdoings and may make suboptimal choices when casting a ballot Bechwati Morrin 2007 Coupled with the above, this is indicative of a link between voting behavior and negative treatment of those with a mental illness Despite this, little research has been done on how mental health issues attributed to the candidate affects voting behaviors Six candidate vignettes for a hypothetical Kansas Governor election were created with gender neutral names and indicative of policies aligning with participant views Two vignettes of each had symptoms related to a mental illness, a diagnosis, or neutral Participants were also asked questions regarding their personal attitudes and general stigma toward mental illness Results indicated participants were more likely to endorse statements suggesting general stereotypes than statements indicating negative attitudes towards individuals with a mental illness Our study did show that voters had an aversion toward candidates with a mental health diagnosis which partially supports our initial hypothesis



Submission Type

in-person poster




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