Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The majority of mental illness on college campuses remains untreated, and mental illness stigma is the most cited explanation for not seeking mental health treatment. Working-class college students are not only at greater risk of mental illness, but also are less likely to seek mental health treatment and hold more stigmatized views toward people with mental illness compared to affluent college students. Research on college culture suggests that elite college contexts may be associated with greater stigmatization of mental illness. This study bridges the social status and college culture literatures by asking—does social status and college context together predict students’ mental health attitudes? By surveying 757 undergraduates at an Ivy League university and a Non-Ivy League university, I found that 1) elite college students had greater mental illness stigma than non-elite students, 2) social status was positively related to personal stigma and negatively related to perceived stigma, and 3) low social status students at the Ivy League university had greater personal mental illness stigma compared to their counterparts at the Non-Ivy League university. Low social status students’ perceptions of themselves as social status minorities may be responsible for their greater stigmatization of mental illness in the elite college context. These findings suggest that increasing socioeconomic diversity on college campuses may improve lower social status students’ mental health attitudes.


First Advisor

Mark Pachucki

Second Advisor

Kathryne M. Young

Third Advisor

Anthony Paik