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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Living Panic: The Experience of Panic Disorder Among College Students at CSULB
by Stohs, Alexandra, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 164; 28151610
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the experience of college students at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) who have been diagnosed with panic disorder. It studies the experience of students with panic disorder by identifying the context of panic attacks in a university setting and students’ experience with panic attacks. It identifies barriers to care that exist for students, students’ medication rituals, stigma surrounding panic disorder, their social support systems, and their experience with mental health practitioners on and off campus. These inquiries are studied from a qualitative, anthropological perspective. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 students from CSULB who have been diagnosed with panic disorder to understand their experience with panic disorder. These interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, then thematically coded and organized into case studies through hand-coding and the qualitative software, Dedoose. Stigma of mental illness was assessed using the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Scale. Panic disorder severity was assessed using the Panic Severity Scale.

Overall, barriers to care that exist for students at CSULB are difficulty scheduling appointments, general misdiagnoses and confusion surrounding panic attacks, and lack of social support. Participants’ panic attacks were associated with a “liminal stage” or life transitions in their lives and with feeling a lack of control over situations. Students felt stigma surrounding panic attacks, but this stigma was reduced by social support systems, education about panic attacks, and seeking treatment from mental health practitioners. To reduce stigma and suffering around panic attacks, this study recommends more widespread education on panic attacks and how to help individuals through them. Additionally, it recommends the creation of more support groups on campus to help decrease panic and anxiety among university students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Loewe, Ronald
Commitee: Dubois, L. Zachary, Howell, Jayne
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/9(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Public health, Higher education, Mental health
Keywords: Panic disorders, College students, Panic attacks
Publication Number: 28151610
ISBN: 9798597067179
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