Kevin Criswell Research on Student Mental Health Available

Kevin Criswell, PhD, recently reported findings from a 3-year study of EWU students on the effects of internalized stigma in students with chronic mental and/or physical health conditions.

Internalized stigma is a result of internalizing negative stereotypes associated with a social label, Crisswell explains. An example would be a student with depression who may be assumed to be more lazy than the average student, based on the “depression” label, he says.

Such labels can have a detrimental impact as students with depression may eventually internalize that labeling and assume that they must be “lazy” and be more likely to think and act in ways consistent with being “lazy.” 

Criswell’s findings suggested that internalized stigma, when it is present in students with mental and/or physical chronic health conditions, is a good indicator that they are likely experiencing greater stress as well as diminished physical and psychological quality of life at that time.

However, the data did not support a causal relationship from internalized stigma to later stress and quality of life. Taken together, this suggests that internalized stigma may be good indicator of multiple health outcomes, and further work should clarify what predicts the development of and reduces the risk of internalized stigma.

Interested EWU students and faculty can access the full peer-reviewed article “Effects of internalized stigma on quality of life and stress in undergraduate students with chronic health conditions” via the PSYCArticles database, available through EWU’s libraries. The article is also listed on APA PsycNet.

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