Examining Religious Orientation and the Attribution Model of Stigma


  • Annalee Johnson-Kwochka, MA
  • Michelle Salyers, PhD
  • Laura Stull, PhD
  • Kyle Minor, PhD
  • Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, PhD


The Attribution Model of mental illness stigma posits that attributions about the causes and controllability of mental illness contribute to prejudicial emotional reactions, which in turn may lead to discriminatory behaviors towards people with mental illnesses. Given that people make different assumptions about different mental illnesses, if this model is correct, it suggests that specific diagnoses would elicit different types of stigma. Another important, but unexamined, predictor is extrinsic religious orientation, which correlates positively with other types of prejudice and may predict higher levels of mental illness stigma.


1) Assessing evidence for the Attribution Model by re-examining both the factor structure of the Attribution Questionnaire and relationships between stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination within the model

2) Examining the role of religious orientation in predicting different aspects of mental illness stigma


The results of this investigation support existing evidence for the Attribution Model, and suggest ways to refine the structural relationships between variables in the model. Results also suggest that extrinsic religious orientation may be an important factor in predicting mental illness stigma.