Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology


Professional Psychology and Family Therapy


Pamela Foley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Minsun Lee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Margaret Farrelly, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Smith, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Mark Litt, Ph.D.


Mental health stigma, integrated healthcare, burnout, therapeutic optimism


This study sought to discover differences in mental health stigma among doctoral-level healthcare providers. Previous research has found high levels of stigma among healthcare professionals and has often reported differences between non-mental health professionals and mental health practitioners (Bjorkman, Angelman, & Jönsson, 2008; Hori, Richards, Kawamoto, & Kunugi, 2011; Peris, Teachman, & Nosek, 2008). Most of the current literature has grouped many different levels of providers together, which makes it difficult to distinguish between the specific specialties and training models to determine if these factors impact stigma. Additionally, few studies have examined the connections between stigma and burnout or therapeutic optimism. Clinicians are typically at a higher risk of burnout the longer they have been in the field and studies indicate that professionals who endorse more burnout have more negative attitudes towards patients (Bakker, Schaufeli, Sixma, & Boseveld, 2000; Gibb, Beautrais, & Surgenor, 2010). Results indicated partial support for study hypotheses. Attitudes towards patients with mental illness were found to be influence by professional specialty, burnout (specifically depersonalization and personal accomplishment), and therapeutic optimism, while gender and time spent in the field were not significantly correlated with stigma scores. Interaction results indicated that stigma remains low and stable over time for mental health providers, while non-mental health providers show high levels of stigma early in their careers, but that these levels decrease over time. Additional analyses suggest that higher levels of stigma among non-mental health providers may be impacted by gender (male) and burnout (depersonalization and personal accomplishment). Implications, limitations, and future directions for study are discussed.