realistic? The current study investigated the role of implicit and explicit social-cognitive biases in jurors’ conceptualizations of insanity, and the influence of those biases in juror verdict decisions. It was hypothesized that by analyzing the role of implicit and explicit biases in insanity defense cases, jurors’ attitudes towards those with mental illnesses and attitudes towards the insanity defense would influence jurors’ final verdict decisions. Two hundred and two participants completed an online survey which included a trial vignette incorporating an insanity defense (adapted from Maeder et al., 2016), the Insanity Defense Attitude Scale (Skeem, Louden, & Evans, 2004), Community Attitudes Towards the Mentally Ill Scale (Taylor & Dear, 1981), and an Implicit Association Test (Greenwald et al., 1998). While implicit associations concerning mental illness and dangerousness were significantly related to mock jurors’ verdicts, they no longer were when explicit insanity defense attitudes were added to a more complex model including all measured attitudes and biases. Insanity defense attitudes were significantly related to jurors’ verdicts over and above attitudes about the mentally ill and implicit biases concerning the mentally ill. The potentially biasing impact of jurors’ insanity defense attitudes and the impact of implicit associations about the mentally ill in legal judgments are discussed.
Minority mental health patients face many health inequities and inequalities that may stem from implicit bias and a lack of cultural awareness from their healthcare providers. I analyzed the current literature evaluating implicit bias among healthcare providers and culturally specific life traumas that Latinos and African Americans face that can impact their mental health. Additionally, I researched a current mental health assessments tool, the Child and Adolescent Trauma Survey (CATS), and evaluated it for the use on Latino and African American patients. Face-to-face interviews with two healthcare providers were also used to analyze the CATS for its’ applicability to Latino and African American patients. Results showed that these assessments were not sufficient in capturing culturally specific life traumas of minority patients. Based on the literature review and analysis of the interviews with healthcare providers, a novel assessment tool, the Culturally Traumatic Events Questionnaire (CTEQ), was created to address the gaps that currently make up other mental health assessment tools used on minority patients.