Princeton University Library Catalog

Just Snap Out of It: Comparing Perceptions of Depression and Physical Illness

Lazo, Lauren [Browse]
Senior thesis
Allen, Lesley [Browse]
Comer, Ronald [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
99 pages
Summary note:
This thesis investigates the explicit and implicit stigmas regarding the dangerousness, competence, likeability, and etiology of depression within the Princeton University undergraduate population, using physical illness as a comparison condition. It was hypothesized that a depressed person would be viewed as more dangerous, incompetent, and unlikeable, while being the product of more psychological causes relative to a physically ill person on both explicit and implicit measures. It was also expected that these negative attitudes would be more pronounced implicitly. The participants completed a series of explicit semantic differential scales and implicit association tests (IATs). Implicit and explicit results demonstrated more negative attitudes towards depression than physical illness regarding likeability and etiology. Implicitly a depressed person was not viewed as more dangerous than a physically ill person, but explicitly a depressed person was viewed inconsistently more dangerous than a physically ill person. Additionally, implicit ratings of competence revealed a belief that a depressed person is less competent than a physically ill person, but the opposite was found when measured explicitly. Results and limitations are discussed further.