The perception of mental illness has often been studied in traditional face-to-face settings, but the research on its perception in an online setting has been growing recently. Social media platforms have allowed for important conversations regarding mental health to gain popularity and led to the formation of communities where users can share their personal experiences. It has also given professionals the opportunity to educate others on various mental health topics and answer specific questions their audience may have. From these posts and forums, users who are concerned with their mental health can be given the guidance to achieve proper assistance from an in-person support group or medical professional. However, there is little to no regulation concerning who can share information on these applications, which can potentially lead to the spread of false information and exaggerated instances of mental illnesses. This can encourage users to incorrectly self-diagnose and reinforce stigma that is already prevalent in both face-to-face and virtual settings. The role that social media plays in mental health perception and self-diagnosis remains uncertain. To better understand this interaction, an online study was conducted where participants were tasked with completing a survey and watching a series of videos that varied depending upon the condition they were assigned to. Participants were then given the same survey to determine whether any particular thoughts or emotions had been evoked from watching the videos. There were no significant differences between the survey responses before and after the videos, and no interaction was found between the type of videos the participant watched and their combined scores on each survey question. The results of this study merit further investigation into how social media platforms influence the perception of mental illness, which indicate there is not a significant impact.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Hancock, Peter


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Clinical Psychology



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


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