Data were drawn from 8,130 Latina/o college students who participated in the 2017–2018 Healthy Minds Study, a national online survey that examines college students’ psychological well-being. Students were majority female (n = 5,618; 69.3%) and on average 22.98 (SD = 6.03) years old. Participants completed the highly used General Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which assessed students’ anxiety (Spitzer et al., 2006; 𝛂 = .91) and depressive (Spitzer et al., 1999; 𝛂 = .89) symptoms, respectively. Students also reported how supportive they perceived their campus to be towards mental health and their personal and public mental health utilization stigma perceptions. Multiple hierarchical regression analyses examined Latina/os’ anxiety, depression, perception of the campus climate, and school belonging to their perceived personal and public stigma. The moderating effect of campus climate and school belonging was also tested.
Latina/o students’ age, sex, and academic level were associated with personal, but not public stigma. In line with previous research (Pedersen & Paves, 2014), findings indicated that Latina/o students who reported greater anxiety and depressive symptoms also reported increased public and self stigma. Additionally, college campuses perceived as being more supportive of mental health and well-being were associated with increased personal and public stigma. Sense of belonging was also associated with increased personal and public stigma among Latina/o college students. Campuses supportive of mental health and sense of belonging did not moderate the relations between Latina/o college students’ anxiety and depressive symptoms and their perceived personal and public stigma toward mental health care utilization.
Findings in the current study highlight the role of public stigma and perceived personal stigma amongst Latina/o college students. College campuses that promote positive mental health and prioritize students’ well-being may be missing a cultural component in reducing students’ stigma towards receiving treatment. Findings suggest that supportive campuses do not moderate the relation between Latina/o student’s well being and perceived stigma. These findings represent an opportunity for college campuses to reduce perceived and public stigma by developing multilayered interventions that challenge culturally relevant stigmas in addition to the information and services that campuses already provide.