Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Theresa Botts

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Richard Osbaldiston

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Melinda M. Moore

Department Affiliation



The current study sought to explore the relationships mental illness stigmatization may have with perceived social support, proximity, and help-seeking behavior. Based on findings from previously conducted studies, hypotheses were formulated in order to further analyze how perceived social support, proximity, and help-seeking behavior may impact an individual's tendency to stigmatize mental illness. 203 Eastern Kentucky students participated in this study to test these hypotheses. These participants took part in an online study that measured their perceived social support based on their family environment, their proximity to those with a mental illness or mental illness in general, their attitudes regarding seeking out professional help regarding mental health, and their level of stigma. The hypotheses of the current study were not supported by the analyses conducted, and one hypothesis was proven to be contradictory indicating that proximity tends to correlate with higher rates of stigma as opposed to lower rates. The other findings were not significant.