Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Alexandros Maragakis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Claudia Drossel, Ph.D., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Angela D. Staples, Ph.D.


Stigma is a complex issue that can significantly affect people with serious mental illness (SMI) and older adults due to their increased risk of cognitive deficits and somatic conditions. Both of these populations can experience stigma from healthcare providers, which may serve as a barrier to seeking and remaining in treatment, and contribute to inequality in the amount and quality of treatment these populations receive. The present study partially replicated previous research by assessing if healthcare providers have more stigmatizing attitudes and are less likely to provide referrals to patients with SMI compared to patient’s without SMI. This study also extended this research by assessing healthcare providers attitudes and decision-making towards older adults and older adults with SMI. The results of the present study indicate that providers expected the patient with SMI to be less competent and were less likely to recommend they receive a referral for a sleep study compared to patients without SMI. Additionally, providers expected the older adult patient to have more difficulty reading and understanding educational material compared to the younger adult patient.

Included in

Psychology Commons