Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Laurel Bidwell


Social Work


This study examines Minnesota Licensed Social Workers’ perceptions of mental illness. The researcher developed a quantitative survey consisting of 39 questions from four pre- existing surveys, as well as the researcher’s own questions, to measure different types of stigma associated with mental illness. Three major themes were analyzed: level of education, personal experience, and professional experience, and how they related to possible stigma towards mental illness. A combination of frequency distributions, Chi Square, Pearson Correlation, and Independent T-test were utilized to answer the question: “What are social workers’ perceptions on mental illness related to stigma; and how does this vary based on level of education, personal experience, and professional experience?” One hundred and seven Minnesota licensed social workers took part in this survey. Findings indicate that level of education, personal experience, and professional

experience were not significantly related to level of self-reported stigma around mental illness. The study did find, however, that for the social workers who have diagnosed individuals with mental illness, the longer they had been working in the field, the less likely they were to perceive individuals with mental illness as dangerous (harm to themselves or others). One of the possible explanations is the extensive knowledge it takes to diagnose individuals with mental illness. Future research should continue to explore mental illness stigma among social workers, mental health professionals, providers, and recipient with mental illness.

Included in

Social Work Commons