Social Distancing of Depressive and Panic Disorders in an International Sample of Social Work Students


  • Donna S. Wang Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
  • Scott Smith Texas State University School of Social Work
  • Chris R. Locke



, Stigma, mental health, mental illness, social distance, social work education, international social work


: Using an international sample, this study examined what variables were associated with social distancing among social work students. A total of 1,042 students from seven universities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia participated in a cross-sectional paper and pencil survey that applied the Social Distancing Scale to case vignettes describing an individual with panic disorder or major depressive disorder. The results show that levels of social distancing were related to age, knowing someone with a mental illness, type of disorder, level of conservatism, race, country, professional interest in mental health, level of student, and sex. Overall, 16.8% of the variance was accounted for with these significant variables. Implications for social work education and future research are discussed.

Author Biographies

Donna S. Wang, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus

Ph.D., LMSW; Assistant Professor, Chair of the Social Work Department Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus 1 University Plaza, Humanities Building-Room 805 Brooklyn, NY 11201

Scott Smith, Texas State University School of Social Work

PhD, LCSW Assistant Professor

Chris R. Locke

PhD, LCSW Alexandria, Louisiana