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

Lazo, Lauren [Browse]
Senior thesis
99 pages


Allen, Lesley [Browse]
Comer, Ronald [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year
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.

Supplementary Information