Despite a long history of interventions, campaigns, and workshops to destigmatize mental illness, success has been somewhat limited. This project examined a novel approach to challenging stigma through the performing arts by presenting realistic and sensitive characteristics of mental illness while simultaneously educating the public (comedic theater and music). The study employed a 4x2 mixed design with 4 conditions (3 experimental and 1 control) and pre-post measurements of stigma using the Community Attitudes Towards the Mentally Ill (CAMI) questionnaire. Participants consisted of 109 Connecticut College undergraduate students. Contact education was associated with positive changes in perceptions about mental illness. In addition, artistic intervention was associated with small but positive reductions in stigmatizing attitudes. Future interventions, combining artistic and mental health education, can be implemented within colleges and universities to disrupt stigmatizing perceptions of college students.
Volpe, Anna, "Performing Arts: Reaching Hearts and Minds to Counter Stigmatization of Mental Illness" (2014). Psychology Honors Papers. 43.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.