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  • Publication
    Using implicit measures to evaluate mental health stigma and attitudes to help-seeking
    Aims: The paper introduces and describes the use of implicit measures of attitude in two separate studies.  The aim of the first study was to explore children's and adolescents' (10 to 16 years) stigmatizing responses towards hypothetical peers with either ADHD or depression.  The aim of the second was to investigate whether a brief on-line intervention could change young adults' (18 to 25 years) attitudes towards help-seeking for mental health problems. Methods: Implicit measures, such as the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) do not require research participants to overtly express their beliefs.  They are used where there is a high risk that research participants will offer socially desirable responses about stereotypes and prejudices. In the first study, an adapted IAT, in conjunction with questionnaires, was used to measure attitudes towards a vignette describing a peer who had ADHD or depression.  In the second study, the Single Category IAT was used to measure young adults' attitudes towards professional help-seeking for mental health problems. Results: The findings showed that young people were more stigmatising towards peers with mental health problems and treatment seeking on implicit compared to explicit measures. The patterns of responses between the measures highlights the value of using implicit measures to enhance our understanding of such phenomena.  Conclusions: Implicit measures may prove to be a useful tool for researchers who are interested in stigma associated with mental health problems in young people and their treatment.  Lessons learned from the use of implicit measures in these studies will be highlighted.
  • Publication
    Explicit and implicit stigma towards peers with mental health problems in childhood and adolescence
    Background: Children and adolescents with mental health problems are widely reported to have problems with peer relationships, however, few studies have explored the way in which these children are regarded by their peers. For example, little is known about the nature of peer stigmatization and no published research has investigated implicit attitudes thus ensuring that stigma is not well understood. In order to address this issue the current study explored patterns of explicit and implicit stigmatization of peers with depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: The sample was 385 children (M = 10.21 years) and adolescents (M = 15.36 years). Participants completed a questionnaire assessing explicit stigma towards an age and gender matched peer with ADHD or depression and another peer with "normal issues" who were described in vignettes. They also completed a modified version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) that explored implicit attitudes towards the target peers. Results: Questionnaire data indicated that the peer with ADHD was perceived more negatively than the peer with depression on all dimensions of stigma, except perceived dangerousness and fear. In contrast, the IAT findings suggest that some participants had more negative views of the peer with depression than the peer with ADHD. Specifically, the findings demonstrate that adolescent males demonstrated significantly stronger negative implicit evaluations of depression compared to younger males and adolescent females. Conclusions: Children and adolescents demonstrate stigmatising responses to peers with common mental health problems. The nature and extent of these responses depends on the type of problem and the type of measurement used. The findings highlight the importance of using both explicit and implicit measures of stigma.
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