Previous Honors Associate Abby Bellefleur at the National Communication Association

Former student and Honors Associate, Abby Bellefleur, presented her honors thesis research and was featured in the Top Paper Session for Lambda Pi Eta, which is NCA’s student honor society.
Change the Channel and Phone a Friend: Communication at Play in Shaping Attitudes Toward Mental Illness
With increases in the severity and prevalence of mental illness among college students (Daddona, 2011; Hefner & Eisenberg, 2009), it is important to understand what attitudes about mental illness are present among college students and how communication is at play in shaping those attitudes. From a cultivation analysis perspective (Morgan, Signorielli, & Shanahan, 2009), this study explores the relationship between college students’ television viewing habits and their attitudes toward mental illness. The present study also looks at the possible associations between college students’ personal experiences with and interpersonal communication about mental health challenges and attitudes toward mental illness. Data were collected using an online survey distributed to undergraduate students at a mid-size University in the Northeast United States. It was found that the relationship between interpersonal communication about mental illness and attitudes toward mental illness was statistically significant among the sample. This finding has implications for mental health support services and peer-to-peer programs on college campuses.
Abby Bellefleur, University of Maine, Orono