Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado


Kyra Trimble

Faculty Sponsor

Rosann M. Ross and Karen Traxler


Adolescents diagnosed with psychological disorders and their friendship groups are understudied. Factors that help a diagnosed adolescent decide to disclose this personal information to his/her friends is understudied as well. This qualitative study focused on the personal experiences of early and late adolescents who have disclosed mental health information to their friends. This study also focused on factors that would impact why, or why not, this group of adolescents chose to disclose this information. An in-depth interview concentrated on three themes: the quantity and type of diagnosis and treatments, health literacy, and stigma patterns. Health literacy and perceived stigma showed the strongest trends for reasons why participants disclosed or withheld information about their diagnosis and treatments. Adolescents showed that their friendships were a vital asset to their wellbeing and an important source of support during the time of diagnosis and thereafter.