Previous studies have provided some evidence that college students may hesitate to disclose their mental health status because of social stigma; however, more research is needed to identify and understand the factors that influence students’ willingness to disclose. For example, it is unclear how professor characteristics impact the likelihood of disclosure. In the current study we examined whether the gender of the professor (male vs. female) and the professor’s teaching discipline (STEM vs. humanities) affected students' likelihood to disclose a mental health problem. Participants read a fictitious syllabus where the professor was either male or female and taught a chemistry or English course. Then, they were asked to respond to a questionnaire concerning whether they would disclose any mental health problems to the professor teaching the course. Results indicated that students would not disclose their mental health status to a professor via email or office hours. Instead, they would rather skip the class for a mental health day. This effect was especially present if the class was taught by a female professor in humanities. In addition, students of color were more likely to report skipping the class when compared to their White counterparts. These findings raise important implications for our understanding of the relationships between students and professors concerning mental health.
Solorio, Giselle and Barideaux, Kenneth Jr.
"Do Professor Characteristics Influence College Students' Mental Health Disclosure?,"
University of South Carolina Upstate Student Research Journal: Vol. 16, Article 1.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/uscusrj/vol16/iss1/1