James Ragsdale

Doctoral student, Instructor
James Ragsdale


My research interests are primarily in the sociology of mental health, with my focus being stigma related to mental illness and substance use disorders. Substance use stigma has become my main focus, with my investigation being centered on the sources of public stigma, including causal beliefs about substance use disorders. In recent years, I have integrated moral psychology, particularly moral foundations, into my analysis of existing issues regarding attitudes toward substance use and related policies.


  • Elliott, M., & Ragsdale, J. M., (2022). Examining the stigma of bipolar and border by causal explanation and treatment modality [Manuscript in preparation].
  • Department of Interdisciplinary Social Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno.
  • Elliott, M., Ragsdale, J. M., & Lamotte, M. (2022). Causal explanations, treatability, and mental illness stigma: An experimental study [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Department of Interdisciplinary Social Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno.
  • Elliott, M., & Ragsdale, J. M. (Accepted). Nature and/or nurture: causal attributions of mental illness and stigma. Social Psychology Quarterly.
  • Elliott, M., and Ragsdale, J. M. (2022). Stress exposure and well-being: Correlates of meeting criteria for bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or both. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 57(9): 1885-1896.
  • Ragsdale, J. M., and Elliott, M. (2022). Opioid addiction, attributions, and stigma: An online vignette experimental study. Stigma and Health 7(2): 205-213.
  • Cabell, J. J., Wood, K. A., High, C., Cooper, A., Dogan, I., Gannon, M., Ragsdale, J. M., & Gruys, K. (2022). Staying in touch during COVID-19: How communication methods varied by age and COVID-related experiences. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 1-13.
  • Ragsdale, J. M., Lamotte, M., & Elliott, M. (2020). The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on stress: A cross-national analysis of economic and public health policies and individual characteristics. In M. Elliott (Ed.). Research Handbook on Society and Mental Health. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN: 978 1 80037 847 6.
  • Elliott, M., & Ragsdale, J. (2020). Mental health professionals with mental illness: A qualitative in-depth interview study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90(6): 677-686.
  • Stanton, C. E., Sanford, B. T., Law, S. M., Chin, F., Smith, P., Ragsdale, J. M., Ta, J., & Hayes, S. C. (in press). Case conceptualization in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In P. L. dos Santos, J. P. Gouveia, M. da Silva Oliveira, & J. Pistorello (Eds.), International ACT practical handbook. Porto Allegro, RS, Brazil: Sinopsis.


  • Graduate Dean's Merit Scholarship
  • Founders' Best Research Paper Award
  • Department of Sociology's Graduate Excellence in Research Award
  • Governor Guinn Millenium Scholarship 2014-2018


M.A. in Sociology from University of Nevada, Reno.

B.A. in Psychology and Sociology with a specialization in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno.