At Least You're Not Neurotypical': Stigma, Mental Illness Disclosure, and Social Capital Among Privileged College Students
This mixed-methods study investigated if individuals in high-resource, low-stigma environments experience any benefits from disclosing their mental illness. Participants were recruited from a small Midwestern liberal arts college. Survey data were collected on attitudes toward mental illness on campus (N = 384) that showed low levels of public stigma and moderate levels of self-stigma. Class year and mental health status were predictors of public stigma and campus-specific attitudes toward mental illness, but not self-stigma; race and gender were not significant predictors of either. Screening questions yielded 50 in-depth interviews about stigma on campus, mental illness disclosure, and students’ social capital. Qualitative coding revealed four findings: 1) students reported low levels of public stigma associated with mental illness; 2) white students, but not students of color, reported an inverted status hierarchy that incentivized mental illness disclosure; 3) white students garnered social capital from disclosing their mental illness; 4) mental illness was used by white students as a social buffer against shame over unearned privileges. In high-resource, low-stigma environments, privileged individuals may experience social motivation to publicly disclose mental illness. This has implications for student help-seeking behaviors and poor mental health outcomes on college campuses.
Stanek, Charis, and Greggor Mattson. 2023. "'At Least You're Not Neurotypical': Stigma, Mental Illness Disclosure, and Social Capital Among Privileged College Students." Deviant Behavior. DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2023.2244118.
Taylor & Francis
Self-stigma, Gender differences, Higher education, Public stigma, Health, Consequences, Environments, Strategies, Identity, Support