Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology, Applied

First Advisor

Reef Youngreen

Second Advisor

Paul Benson

Third Advisor

Paul Nestor


This thesis is an accumulation of two and a half years of research. The premise was to see if the variables of level of education, level of contact with persons with mental illness, and type of majors (used as independent variables) were related to the concepts of individuals with mental illness being dangerous, having poor social skills, and being incurable (used as dependent variables). This was accomplished both with bivariate analyses to find simple correlations, and through multiple regression analyses to find the relationship with the dependent variables when other variables were taken into account. This was accomplished through the use of the Belief in Mental Illness Scale developed, and tested by Harai, and Clum was as an initial template. To this scale qualitative, quantitative, and demographic questions were added to facilitate the different analyses.

It was found that the greater the level of contact that one had with an individual with mental illness the more positive the view in regards to dangerousness and having poor social skills, but not the facet of incurability. Having a higher level of education seemed to point to having a better opinion about the social skills of those with mental illnesses. This was not the case with the concepts of dangerousness and incurability. Lastly the type of major (Non-Social Science vs. Social Science Majors) did not have the expected results. In the case of incurability it seemed that those that are social-science majors had a more negative view of mental illness and did not have significant relation to the two other concepts.

All of this considered the conclusion is that the two hypotheses related to level of contact, and level of education were partially supported but the one related to type of major was in support of the null-hypothesis. In such being the case it is hoped that those that read this thesis may see to it that the education about mental illness evolves to include anti-stigma course work that involves contact with those that have mental illnesses and are in recovery.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Thesis is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this thesis through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.