Date of Award

Summer 7-16-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology




Susan Nolan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paige Fisher, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Simon, Ph.D.


mental illness, stigma, contact hypothesis, vignette, celebrity, intervention


Although effective treatments have been developed for various mental illnesses, many individuals who need psychological help do not seek it because of stigma. Interventions have been developed to reduce stigma, with the hope of increasing access to mental healthcare. Vicarious contact with individuals who have mental illness can reduce both public and internal stigma. Furthermore, celebrity examples have been used to reduce stigma. The present study compared celebrity examples and non-celebrity examples across a stigma-reduction intervention, as well as a control group, to determine the most effective ways to present first-person narrative vignettes for reducing both public and internal stigma. The results showed that exposure to celebrity status in the form of a vignette did not statistically significantly reduce self-reported scores for either public or internal stigma, on average, when compared to exposure to a non-celebrity or no exposure (a control group).