Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Lisa Kiesel


Social Work


The purpose of this research study was to investigate the ways in which current MSW students experience different forms of the stigma of mental illness. The broader research question for this study is: Do current MSW students experience self-stigma of mental illness? Self-stigma is the internalization of negative attitudes and stereotypes created by general stigma (Corrigan et al., 2008). This study will examine the relationship between levels of general stigma and self-stigma in order to answer an additional question: If social work students are non-judgmental towards others in the general population with mental illness, are they similarly less judgmental towards themselves or each other? The sample population of this study included 48 current MSW students enrolled at two separate MSW programs in Minnesota. These students consented to participate in a quantitative study by completing an online questionnaire distributed by faculty members representing each MSW program. Findings highlight the prevalence of self-stigma of mental illness within the two MSW programs, demonstrating some discrepancies in the literature about the relationship between levels of general stigma and self-stigma. The goal of this research will be to enhance general knowledge about how MSW students experience mental illness in order to identify gaps in current research related to levels of general and self-stigma experienced within current MSW programs. Generalized knowledge about MSW students will benefit the professional field of social work by focusing on important subject areas in need of more social work research.

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