Date of Award
Counseling and Human Services
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dr. Rosalind Goodrich
Child maltreatment, mental illness, and criminal behavior are all commonly known topics and a wide variety of research has been conducted to investigate the implications of all three concepts. Even though there is quality research on each of these topics, the awareness of important facts and theories in these areas may not be known to the general public. This study surveyed university students on their knowledge of the characteristics and risk factors of victims of child maltreatment, in addition to their perceptions of people with mental illness. Items included in the study were comprised of items from Taylor and Dear’s CAMI Questionnaire (1981) and Price’s Public Perceptions of Child Abuse and Neglect in a Midwestern Urban Community Questionnaire (2001). Majority of the responses regarding the participants’ perceptions of child abusers and child victims were accurate, however, 57% of respondents thought that males were most likely to abuse a child, whereas preexisting data shows that children are more likely to be maltreated by a female. The items in the survey that asked about perceptions of mental health received a relatively acceptant response rate, as well. Fifty-eight participants strongly agreed that our mental hospitals seem more like prisons the mentally ill can be cared for and 53 people strongly agreed or agreed that mental illness is an illness like any other. These results propose the idea that the stigma surrounding mental illness is declining and awareness regarding child maltreatment is increasing. Surveying larger groups of people that span a wider age range would be an area of further research as well as surveying a greater amount of college students to see if their perceptions and stigmas could be dependent on their college major.
Smith, Olivia K., "SOCIETAL PERCEPTIONS SURROUNDING CHILD MALTREATMENT AND MENTAL HEALTH" (2022). Selected Honors Theses. 168.