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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Crystal Hoyt

Second Advisor

Dr. Don Forsyth

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristjen Lundberg


The goal of the current work was to explore the role of mindsets in both stigma against and support for those with mental illness. Across two studies, we examined the double-edged sword hypothesis, which provides a framework for understanding the effects of beliefs in the changeability of mental illness and overall stigma and support. In the first study, participants were randomly assigned to report their beliefs about one of two illnesses: depression or schizophrenia (N = 254). We sought to replicate and extend findings in Study 2 assigning participants to respond to questions about mental illness generally or schizophrenia (N = 501). In both studies, effects are similar across conditions. Across both studies, growth mindsets predicted less stigma overall, and indirectly predicted less stigma through less essentialism and more stigma through blame. There were mixed results for support. In Study 1, growth mindsets had negative indirect effects on support through both blame and essentialism, and once essentialism and blame were controlled for, mindsets positively predicted support. In Study 2, there was a negative indirect effect of growth mindsets on support through blame, but overall growth mindsets had a strong and positive direct effect on support. This work highlights the benefits more so than the costs of believing in the changeability of mental illness. This work suggests that one path forward for leaders working to promote a more inclusive and supportive society for those with mental illness might be to promote these growth beliefs.