Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Berman, Mitchell E.

Committee Member

Keeley, Jared W.

Committee Member

Hood, Kristina B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Mental illness carries a pervasive stigma. Research uncovered several theories to explain stigma, including the Attribution Theory, the Biological Model, Belief in a Just World (BJW), and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO). Previous research identified a mediational pathway in which BJW influenced SDO, and where SDO predicted stigmatizing beliefs and intent to discriminate. There is a lack of research examining BJW and SDO from within the framework of mental illness controllability. This study attempted to fill in the gap within stigma literature by examining if perceived mental illness controllability influences the BJW-SDO- Stigma model. Analyses failed to replicate the previously found model. The replication failure could be due to using different measures for BJW and stigma, sample differences, possible inadequate power, and possible spurious original findings. Additionally, findings that a personal mental illness diagnosis and knowing someone with mental illness are associated with greater stigma could account for the replication failure. .