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Using Celebrities in Abnormal Psychology as Teaching Tools to Decrease Stigma and Increase Help Seeking
Anne Ferrari

Department of Psychology, The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY, USA

Published: 20 August 2016 by SAGE Publications in Teaching of Psychology
SAGE Publications, Volume 43; 10.1177/0098628316662765
Abstract: Research shows that a very small percentage of those who suffer from mental illness seek professional help and fear of stigma is a principal factor why individuals are reluctant to obtain assistance. This study evaluated whether using examples of celebrities’ experiences with mental illness as a form of “contact” with a mentally ill person would reduce public stigma toward mental illness as well as stigma toward obtaining psychological assistance. Data were collected using a pre–post design from 38 (experimental group) and 17 (control group) college undergraduate students enrolled in an abnormal psychology course. Compared to the control group, the use of celebrities as narratives to teach about mental illness resulted in reduced public stigma toward mental illness and reduced stigma toward seeking help.
Keywords: stigma, mental illness, Celebrities, abnormal psychology

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