Undergraduate Psychology Research Methods Journal


The goal of this study was to show to what extent people understand different mental illnesses and what ideas they have about mental illnesses are right or wrong. The study also attempted to compare differences in responses for different names of the same disorders. The mental illnesses examined were major depressive disorder (MDD), dissociative identity disorder (DID), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia. Method: Participants (N = 80) took a Qualtrics survey that asked questions about different mental illnesses. Each disorder had open response questions regarding the criteria for that disorder. For each disorder, there was no prior information about that disorder given to affect the response, meaning that none of the responses should have been influenced by any information in the survey. Content analysis was used to analyze the responses and determine which responses were correct or incorrect as criteria and whether responses changed based on different names for the same disorder. Results: A variety of answers were given on the survey including both correct and incorrect responses. The correct answers helped provide a basis that people understand some characteristics of mental illnesses. There were some differences shown in responses for different names of the same disorder which were mostly shown by incorrect responses. Conclusion: Although there is a very basic understanding of each mental illness, this understanding is minimal and people must be further educated on mental illnesses with an emphasis on the criteria people missed most often.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Publication Date

January 2020

Included in

Psychology Commons