The Graduate Review


Stigmatization is the perceived, negative stereotype assigned to a group of individuals. This stigmatization has contributed to the criminalization of mental health, meaning that individuals with mental health issues are more likely to be arrested for behaviors that are not criminal. This project examines mental health stigma toward an individual in a psychiatric setting and a correctional setting. We hypothesized that when reading a vignette about an individual experiencing a mental health crisis, participants will stigmatize them more if they are incarcerated than if they are in a psychiatric facility. Results showed that participants exhibited a higher level of discrimination stigma for the jail condition than for the psychiatric facility condition. This research has important implications for those individuals who are incarcerated, experience mental health issues, and are more susceptible to discriminatory beliefs.

Note on the Author

Zachary Dumay is currently a second-semester graduate student at Bridgewater State University. Zach’s research was completed with Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown as a mentor. Zach completed his undergraduate studies at Framingham State University, where he double-majored in Criminology and Psychology. Zach has a passion for working with at-risk Deaf and Hard of Hearing youth of color. Beginning in May of 2022 Zach will begin his internship at the Walden School at the Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts. Upon graduating from Bridgewater State University, Zach hopes to follow his passion continuing with this population in a residential setting.

Jessica Harnais is currently enrolled as a Master’s student studying Clinical Psychology at Bridgewater State University (BSU). She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Emmanuel College in Psychology with a concentration in Counseling & Health. She currently holds the position of Graduate Writing Fellow for the MA Clinical Psychology program at BSU. In the future, she aspires to work with inmates and other incarcerated populations.

Christina Cerminara is enrolled in the Master’s Program for Clinical Psychology in Bridgewater State University. She also graduated in the undergrad program at BSU as well. I currently work for the state working with families . In the future, she plans to have a private practice working with those who experience trauma and later working as a forensic psychologist.