Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 507–518 | Cite as

Title: Brief Implicit Association Tests of Stigmatizing Attitudes, Awareness of Mental Distress and Label-Avoidance: A Study in People with Depressive Symptoms

  • Simone FreitagEmail author
  • Susanne Stolzenburg
  • Georg Schomerus
  • Silke Schmidt
Original Paper


This study aims to develop and implement brief implicit association tests (BIATs) assessing stigmatizing attitudes towards mental illness, awareness of mental distress and self-identification as having a mental illness. We recruited 229 people (age range 18–80 years) with currently untreated depressive symptoms. In addition to BIATs, explicit measures assessed depression severity, contact experience and self-identification as having a mental illness. BIATs showed good feasibility. Age and educational differences were observed for each BIAT. Regarding depression severity, people with mild depression severity showed stronger implicit label-avoidance. Novel BIATs proved feasible and future research should investigate the predictive value of implicit measures on help seeking in people with mental illness.


Brief implicit association test Mental illness Stigmatizing attitudes Awareness of mental distress Label avoidance Depression 



The study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with the grant numbers SCHM 2683/4-1 and SCHO 1337/4-1. We would like to thank Dr. Samuel Tomczyk for his time and support revising the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10597_2019_372_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 KB)
10597_2019_372_MOESM2_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 21 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Health & Prevention, Institute of PsychologyUniversity GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Helios Hanseklinikum StralsundStralsundGermany
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity Medicine GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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