Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Shawn P. Saladin

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra Hansmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Audrey Jones


Physician assistant students’ perceptions and attitudes towards mental illness were examined in relation to their empathy levels. The theoretical frameworks of stigma and labeling were explored and examined through the use of surveys and questionnaires to assess prior attitudes and beliefs about individuals with a mental illness. Based on a multiple-regression model and multi-way analysis of variance, this study showed a statistical significance between an individual’s empathy levels and their stigmatization towards mental illness. In addition, the results of this study identified significant relationships between gender and race in terms of empathy. Implications of this study could have far-reaching effects on how healthcare professionals are trained to deal with persons with disabilities, more particularly, mental health and illness.


Copyright 2015 Juliann M. Garza. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American