There are characteristics normalized in our society that become our roles, or the behaviors that we should follow. We are taught these roles through the socialization process and they come by way of primary and secondary socialization experiences, as we learn to adapt within and outside our communities, and interact with peers, colleagues, and other external persons in our social environment in different settings. Our earliest socialization experiences begin as we are exposed to the teachings and views expressed by our family, and they serve as our first primary socialization agents, and once we become integrated into the school system, we are then introduced to one of our secondary socialization agents. Through both our primary and secondary socialization experiences, we learn how we are expected to think, feel and act, and this helps shape the roles that we are expected to play based on societal norms of what is acceptable and unacceptable. This can include norms and expectations about gender roles, attitudes toward help seeking, and mental health. Individuals with mental illness are seen to be in violation of what is normal and as a result we have a long history of ridiculing them and calling them witches, or saying they are possessed by demonic spirits. So, when one comes to be diagnosed with a mental illness, they are automatically label outside of society’s norms; and when outside of the societal norms there is fear, prejudice, discrimination, and overall a stigma; because people who are not the one with the mental illness do not understand, and that leads to fear, discrimination, prejudice, and stigma. Then there is the individual with the mental illness. He or she is afraid of this stigma and internalizes it, and their consequences (not by their own fault) is the prejudice and discrimination they face from the public, from their society (Corrigan, 2014). Focusing on the mentally ill male population, I want to apply the primary and secondary socialization experiences and more specifically gender role messages can help shape our views on help seeking among males with mental illness. Then integrating the information from previous research and successful attitudinal change programs that have been developed, to develop a that is geared to help destigmatize mental illness and lessen the negative impact of traditional gender role teachings on help seeking behaviors among males with mental illness, in hopes of changing the sexist beliefs that prohibit them from seeking therapy or cause early dropout. The hopes of the program are to at least plant a seed in the target population to start the process of help seeking, and in the future work to develop a bigger program that would reach more people, have a further duration than six weeks, include more of the same information but have bigger scale activities, and be based on the success rate upon completion of this program.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2017


Theresa Botts

Mentor Professional Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Social Work

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work