Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2024

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Psychological Science

Department Chair or Program Director

Liss, Miriam

First Advisor

Liss, Miriam

Second Advisor

Palmwood, Erin

Third Advisor

Leppanen, Marcus

Major or Concentration



This study explored the relationship between self-diagnosis, social media exposure, and how individuals interpret a diagnostic label. Different attitudes toward one’s diagnosis impact an individual’s attitudes toward therapy, compliance with care, and general psychological well-being. One such attitude is over-identification, how attached an individual is to their diagnostic label and how they see a diagnosis as a part of themselves, as this could have implications for their self-concept and attitudes toward therapy. We will ask the following questions: Firstly, do individuals with different diagnoses show meaningfully different levels of attachment to their diagnosis? Secondly, do individuals vary in their social media usage by diagnosis? What variables can predict higher levels of this attachment to a diagnosis? Finally, how does an individual’s attitude toward their diagnosis relate to clinical outcomes such as self-efficacy for personal recovery? A cross-sectional survey data collection was performed to answer these questions. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had significantly higher levels of over-identification. There were no differences in social media use. Having a self-diagnosis, having a weaker sense of self, and social media use all predicted more over-identification. Findings indicate that over-identification has complex and contradictory effects in the context of both functional and dysfunctional coping attitudes, with no clear beneficial or detrimental consequences.