How Do Children Stigmatize People With Mental Illness?


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Patrick W. Corrigan, Joint Research Programs in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3424 S. State Street, 1st Floor, Chicago, IL 60616. E-mail:


A way to promote eliminating stigma surrounding mental illnesses is targeting the phenomenon in children. This study's purpose is to validate models of mental illness stigma on children in Grades 6–8. Children completed the revised Attribution Questionnaire in a pretest of a larger study on a mental health education program. Data from this study permitted testing of roles of demographics in these social cognitive models. Subsequent analyses using manifest model structural equations were mixed, but mostly showed adequate fit for multiple versions of the models. These results suggest that models of blame and dangerousness are relevant to the way 10 to 13-year-olds stigmatize mental illness. Demographics were not found to fit these models satisfactorily. Implications of these findings for stigma-change agenda are discussed.