Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Beverly White, PsyD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Petra Kottsieper, PhD

Third Advisor

Stephanie H Felgoise, PhD, ABPP


OBJECTIVE: Stigma maintains a belief that a recovery process is infeasible for patients with schizophrenia. As clients internalize stigma and therapists maintain a conceptualization of non-recovery, their core beliefs about recovery may become treatment barriers. This study investigated clinicians’ attitudes towards recovery by evaluating the relationship between knowledge of schizophrenia, attitudes of stigma, and attitudes of tolerance held towards people with schizophrenia; included in the evaluation are years of experience working as a mental health professional.

METHOD: This study is a cross-sectional survey design using a sample of 319 participants. The survey consisted of the following measures: knowledge of schizophrenia and attitudes (tolerance) held towards people with schizophrenia (SKAPS), attitudes (stigma) toward mental illness (MICA-4) and belief in the process of recovery (RKI).

RESULTS: The findings of this study suggest that 1) stigma exists along with recovery beliefs, 2) attitudes of tolerance are associated with less stigma of mental illness, and 3) attitudes of tolerance are associated with less belief in the recovery process. In an exploratory analysis, having experience in providing treatment to those with severe mental illness did not influence the associations between knowledge, attitudes (stigma and tolerance), and recovery. Therefore, the findings were found to be comparable among clinicians regardless of experience level.

CONCLUSIONS: This study has indicated the need for advocacy for patients with schizophrenia and also awareness of mental health stigma. Mental health stigma has complex roots in society and can become a hidden construct that complicates the process of recovery for patients.