College students attitudes towards mental illness in relation to gender, empathy, agreeableness and exposure

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Kelly, Christopher
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Researchers commonly claim that stigma is one of the major confounding factors preventing mentally Ill individuals seeking help (Zartaloudi and Madianos, 2010). The aim of this study is to investigate whether there is a difference between Psychology, Business and Law students in relation to attitudes towards mental health, empathy and agreeableness. Differences between Gender, exposure to mental illness were also measured in relation to empathy, agreeableness and mental health attitudes. The Community Attitudes towards Mental Illness scale (Taylor and Dear, 1982), Multidimensional Emotional Empathy Scale(Caruso & Mayer,1998 and the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (Gosling, Rentfrow, and Swann Jr., 2003) were used to explore these aims. 98 (Male:42, Female:56) participants from a number of urban Dublin colleges participated in the study which required them to fill out a questionnaire. Results showed no significant differences between the academic fields, in relation to the scales, however gender and exposure levels did portray significant results. This study can be used to further affirm current literature and anti-stigma programmes. Limitations are discussed within.