Honors Program

Honors in Psychology

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Stacey Williams

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Julia Dodd


In this study, we examine the relationship between having a support system and the stigma individuals face with depression and anxiety symptoms. The aim of this study was to examine if having a support system acts as a buffer between perceived stigma and mental health symptoms. For this study, I conducted an online survey to measure symptoms of depression and anxiety, experiences with both perceived and internalized stigma, and social support. While 93 total participants engaged in the survey, only 52 fully completed the survey and passed two attention-check questions to ensure no invalid participation (e.g., BOTS) were present. In order to test the study hypothesis, two moderated regression analyses were conducted. Results revealed that both perceived stigma and internalized stigma were significantly and positively related to anxiety and depressive mental health symptoms. However, social support was significantly and negatively related to mental health symptoms only in the model with perceived but not internalized stigma. Finally, no significant interactions between either stigma and social support were found, indicating that social support did not buffer the negative impact of either forms of stigma. Importantly, this study was limited by a small sample size that could have prohibited finding significant results.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.