American Psychological Foundation

Eradicating stigma and reducing stereotype threat

Luma Muhtadie, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, believes that those suffering from mental illness may have impaired cognitive abilities as a result of their fear of what others may think of them, based on stereotypes. Muhtadie calls this fear “stereotype threat” and posits that stereotype threats can have long-term mental and physical health consequences in people with mental illness.

Muhtadie won the 2010 APF Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship to examine the influence of stereotype threat on cognitive performance in people with bipolar disorder. She will also examine the extent to which training people with bipolar disorder to reappraise threat-related anxiety can improve cognitive performance. Muhtadie anticipates that her study will increase understanding of the nature of cognitive deficits in persons with bipolar disorder, as well as formulate interventions that improve self-efficacy and functioning of people with mental illness.

The APF Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship supports graduate-level scholarly projects that use a psychological perspective to help understand and reduce stigma associated with mental illness. The scholarship helps address research that shows stigma is a significant barrier to treatment and recovery for many of the 50 million Americans living with mental illness.

The deadline for next year’s prize is May 15. For more on the award, visit Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship.

—J. Clark

Upcoming APF deadlines

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

For more information regarding APF’s grants and scholarships, contact Kim Palmer Rowsome, program officer, at (202) 336-5622.