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Mental illness causes communication barriers

Moderating expectations causes less frustration, noted professor
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

World Mental Health Day, recognized on Oct. 10, serves as a day of education and advocacy for mental health disorders. Dr. Isabelle Bauman, associate professor of communication at Missouri State University, spent a sabbatical in spring 2013 synthesizing research on how interpersonal communication changes when someone has a mental health disorder and how mental health is discussed in American culture and society.

“Having a mental health disorder does make a difference. It changes the way the person communicates,” said Bauman. “And if you go into the interaction expecting a regular communication process, you’re going to be confused, frustrated, anxious and upset.”

Even though she already had a doctoral degree in communication, Bauman went back to school to complete a master’s degree in counseling, during which she began seeing clients. “I got interested in how their (clients’) communication was subtly different than other people’s communication that I had seen and studied. And I began to wonder whether it was unique to them or consistent to their disorder,” added Bauman.

Her research will result in a book outlining communication processes for those suffering from a variety of mental disorders.

For more information, contact Bauman at (417) 836-4830.

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College of Arts and Letters

The College of Arts and Letters supports more than 45 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs. The college incorporates seven academic departments, including art and design; communication; English; media, journalism and film; modern and classical languages; music; and theatre and dance, and five interdisciplinary programs: antiquities; electronic arts; global studies; linguistics; and musical theatre. The College of Arts and Letters promotes learning, scholarship and service to the broader community in all aspects of human communication — spoken, written, visual, musical, dramatic and electronic.

About Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan system with a statewide mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons. The university’s identity is distinguished by its public affairs mission, which entails a campus-wide commitment to foster expertise and responsibility in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement.


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