Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Linda Walsh, Honors Thesis Advisor, Department of Psychology


Brain damage--Patients; Stigma (Social psychology);


Stigma is a major problem for individuals with brain injury. Stigma is commonly reported amongst individuals with brain injury, and stigmatizing attitudes have been found amongst members of the general population as well as professionals in medical and educational settings. This stigma has consequences for individuals who experience it. In order to further understand this stigma, the current study examined factors that could potentially influence stigmatizing attitudes and perceptions, specifically knowledge of traumatic brain injury, experience with traumatic brain injury, and political orientation. Participants included 95 students from the University of Northern Iowa Psychology 1001 participant pool. Participants completed a questionnaire examining demographic factors and evaluating knowledge and perceptions of brain injury. The data suggested that participants with more experience had less negative and less positive perceptions than participants without experience, as well as that participants who identified as Independent had less negative and more positive perceptions than Republicans and Democrats. The only findings that were significant, however, were in evaluating knowledge. Participants in the lowest knowledge group exhibited significantly lower negative perceptions than participants in higher knowledge groups. Limitations of the study are discussed. These results indicate a need for further awareness of and education about brain injury as a way to decrease stigmatizing attitudes.

Year of Submission



Department of Psychology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original

Spring 2019

Object Description

1 PDF file (29 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download