Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

This study examined the perceived stigma of mental illness compared to drug addiction among a sample of criminally involved persons who receive probation services through the Cook County Adult Probation Department. The first section of the study surveyed current probation clients using a modification of the PSAS scale by Luoma, Rye, Kohlenberg, Hayes, Fletcher & Pratte (2010), and assessed levels of stigma consciousness with a modified version of the SCQ (Pinel, 1999). Three groups of participants were surveyed for their perceptions of stigma and stigma consciousness. The first group consisted of drug probation case management clients with no known mental health problems, the second group was drawn from the general probation population and served as a non-equivalent comparison group, and the third group comprised of Mental Health Court clients, who have both mental illness and drug addiction issues. In the second section of the study, case managers were interviewed to collect information on clients' reactions to mental illness service referrals and how stigma can be a barrier to treatment. It was found that there was not a significant difference in perceived stigma of mental illness and drug addiction between the three client groups, however there was higher stigma consciousness for mental illness among female participants in the drug probation program. Additionally, there was an unanticipated inverse relationship between stigma consciousness and perceived stigma. Anecdotal evidence collected from the caseworkers helped to illuminate how treatment is hindered by stigma.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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