Date of Conferral
Stigmatizing mental illness involves negative perceptions or attitudes about mental illness and the individuals who have mental illness, generating problematic consequences for both the general population and for people with mental illness. The theory of multiple intelligences proposes that intelligence includes skills and abilities in any area; emotional intelligence (EI), therefore, includes an individual's ability to identify, interpret, and regulate emotions and emotional responses. This study was designed to evaluate level of familiarity with mental illness as a potential predictor for stigmatizing mental illness, to assist in evaluating the relationship between stigmatizing mental illness and EI. The study was specifically designed to determine whether having higher EI is associated with a decreased likelihood to stigmatize mental illness, and whether increased familiarity is associated with greater EI and a decreased likelihood to stigmatize mental illness. It used bivariate correlations and hierarchical regression analyses, respectively, using data collected from a demographic questionnaire, the TEIQue-SF, the AQ-27, and the LOF. The target population consisted of emergency department (ED) staff (N = 43). Findings suggested that EI and mental illness stigma are correlated (r = -.514, p < .001) and that there is a significant interaction between EI and level of familiarity with mental illness (R2 = .269, F(3, 38) = 4.653, p = .007). ED staff are on the frontline of healthcare and serve as a gateway to systems of care and treatment; as a result, this study's findings are important and are intended to inform healthcare and stigma-combating organizations of factors that can improve the sensitivity and quality of care for individuals with mental illness who admit to healthcare systems.