Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Stereotype content and social distancing from employees with mental illness: The moderating roles of gender and social dominance orientation


Mental illness is increasingly prevalent among employees, but little is known about how these individuals are perceived at work. Using the stereotype content model as a framework, we investigated warmth and competence stereotypes associated with employees with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Employees with these disorders were perceived to be low in warmth and competence, and stereotypes about individuals with anxiety were relatively more positive than those with depression or bipolar. This study also proposed and tested the extent to which stereotypes predicted work‐related social distancing intentions. We found that two characteristics moderated this relationship: gender and social dominance orientation. We discuss practical and theoretical implications as they pertain to improving the experiences and well‐being of employees with mental illness.

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