Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
The purpose of this study was to examine college students' general preference for social distance from individuals who have mental disorders, as well as their preference for social distance from a peer with a specific diagnostic label of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or a Stuttering Disorder. College students (N = 180) enrolled at a Southeastern liberal arts university completed the Modified Social Distance Scale which assessed general preference for social distance from people with mental disorders and subsequently read a short vignette describing a male or female college student who had been diagnosed with and treated for ADHD, OCD, or stuttering. Participants then completed a vignette survey, which assessed their preference for social distance from the stimulus person described in the vignette. The results of the study indicated that college students' general preference for distance from individuals with mental disorders was positively correlated with their preference for distance from a peer with a specific disorder. Additionally, the students preferred more social distance from a peer diagnosed with ADHD and OCD than a peer who stuttered. Gender of the stimulus person did not have a significant effect on students' social distance ratings nor was the interaction between diagnostic label and gender of stimulus person significant. These results suggest that college students are influenced by the stigma associated with mental disorders and prefer to maintain distance in social and academic settings from individuals labeled as having a mental disorder.
Zuilkowski, Kaitlyn A., "Social Distance as a Function of Mental Health Status and Gender of College Student Peers" (2011). Honors Theses. 117.