People with creative abilities have often been stereotyped as insane, neurotic, and prone to addiction (Kaufman, Bromley, & Cole, 2006; Corrigan, 2005). These labels have perpetuated the stigma for many generations (Ludwig, 1995). In addition, females have often been stereotyped as "bad at math," but are assumed to be more verbal and creative (Quinn & Spencer, 2001). The present study hypothesized that creative writers would be stereotyped as more mentally ill, neurotic, and addicted to substances compared to scientists. It was also predicted that gender would exacerbate the phenomenon such that females would be particularly vulnerable to this stereotype. Statistical analyses revealed some interesting gender by major interactions: female creative writers were perceived as the most mentally ill, but were closely followed by male science majors. Male creative writers were actually perceived to have a relatively low level of mental illness. Interestingly, male scientists were rated as having the highest levels of drug and alcohol abuse, whereas male creative writers were perceived to have relatively fewer symptoms of substance abuse. The reverse pattern was true for females. This research confirmed the stereotype of insanity among artists for females but also revealed a tendency towards pathology-based stereotyping of male scientists. Stereotypes negatively affect the targeted populations and perpetuate the stigmas against them. This research attempted to advance understanding as an initial step towards alleviating unwarranted stereotypes.
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Whitten, Shannon N.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
UCF Palm Bay
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Vanella, Angela, "The label of madness: the effects of career choice and gender on perceptions of mental illness" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1478.