Cross-Cultural Comparison of Implicit and Explicit Stigma of Mental Illness in American and Chinese Samples

Document Type


Publication Date



Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Linda Tennison, Psychology


This study was a cross-cultural investigation of the implicit and explicit bias of mental and physical illness. A sample of 89 university students (56% Chinese, 44% American) completed an explicit attitude questionnaire as well as an Implicit Associations Test (IAT) regarding stigma toward mental and physical illness. At an implicit level, I found that American students had higher levels of bias against mental illness than Chinese students in each task. Chinese students were slower to associate physical illness with positive than mental illness. Americans were slower to associate mental illness with positive words in the Good/Bad and Capable/Incapable task. In the explicit survey, Chinese students rated their own self bias against mental illness as higher than the bias of others, while American students rated their self bias as much lower than that of others.