Physician Assistant M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Boeve, Wallace


Stigmatizing attitudes can be destructive to both the emotional and physical wellbeing of individuals living with mental illness. In fact, individuals with a mental illness are more likely to be seen as responsible for their illness and more likely to be falsely accused of a violent crime (Rüsch, Angermeyer, & Corrigan, 2005). Current research on mental health stigma in healthcare has involved a variety of occupations, but published research has yet to examine stigma held by physician assistants (PAs). This research study attempted to answer the following question: What effect, if any, does personal experience with a family member, friend, or romantic partner, and exposure to patients with a mental illness have on the level of mental health stigma held by a practicing PA? To do so, an electronic survey was distributed to members of the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants via email. Included in the survey were questions pertaining to demographics, personal experience, and exposure to individuals with mental illness. Stigma was measured by utilizing components of two established survey tools, the Community Attitudes to Mental Illness (CAMI) and Attitudes to Mental Illness Questionnaires (AMIQ). Multiple regression statistical analysis was used to evaluate the data. Results revealed subtle correlations, but ultimately no statistically significant relationships existed between personal experience and exposure to individuals with mental illness, and the level of mental health stigma held by practicing PAs.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Primary Care Commons