Racial Differences in Attitudes Toward Professional Mental Health Treatment: The Mediating Effect of Stigma
ABSTRACT Stigma associated with mental illness continues to be a pervasive barrier to mental health treatment, leading to negative attitudes about treatment and deterring appropriate care seeking. Empirical research suggests that the stigma of mental illness may exert an adverse influence on attitudes toward mental health treatment and service utilization patterns by individuals with a mental illness, particularly African Americans. However, little research has examined the impact of stigma on racial differences in attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment. This study examined the hypothesis that stigma partially mediates the relationship between race and attitudes towards mental health treatment in a community-based sample of 101 African American and White older adults. Multiple regression analyses and classic path analysis was utilized to test the partial mediation model. Controlling for socio-demographic factors, African American older adults were more likely to have negative attitudes toward mental health treatment, and they also reported more public and internalized stigma than their White counterparts. As hypothesized, the relationship between race and attitudes toward mental health treatment was partially mediated by internalized stigma, suggesting that internalized stigma may cause older adults to develop negative attitudes about mental health treatment. The partial mediation model was not significant for public stigma, however. Implications for social work research and practice are discussed.
- SourceAvailable from: Valerie A Earnshaw
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- "People living with chronic illnesses who have internalized stigma may be less likely to access care because they feel that they do not deserve care or that care may not work for them. Although there has been no direct research on internalized stigma with chronic illness, research on people living with mental illness who have internalized stigma shows that they have poorer attitudes toward mental health treatment (Conner et al., 2009). Similarly, people who perceive that they have experienced stigma in healthcare settings may be less likely to access care because they do not want to face additional negative treatment. "
ABSTRACT: Approximately half of adults are living with a chronic illness, many of whom may feel stigmatized by their chronic illness in different contexts. We explored the impact of internalized, experienced, and anticipated stigma within healthcare settings on the quality of life of 184 participants living with chronic illnesses (e.g. diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma). Results of a path analysis demonstrate that participants who internalized stigma and experienced stigma from healthcare workers anticipated greater stigma from healthcare workers. Participants who anticipated greater stigma from healthcare workers, in turn, accessed healthcare less and experienced a decreased quality of life.Journal of Health Psychology 07/2011; 17(2):157-68. DOI:10.1177/1359105311414952 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Stigma associated with mental illness continues to be a significant barrier to help seeking, leading to negative attitudes about mental health treatment and deterring individuals who need services from seeking care. This study examined the impact of public stigma (negative attitudes held by the public) and internalized stigma (negative attitudes held by stigmatized individuals about themselves) on racial differences in treatment-seeking attitudes and behaviors among older adults with depression. Random digit dialing was utilized to identify a representative sample of 248 African American and white older adults (older than 60 years) with depression (symptoms assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9). Telephone-based surveys were conducted to assess their treatment-seeking attitudes and behaviors and the factors that impacted these behaviors. Depressed older adult participants endorsed a high level of public stigma and were not likely to be currently engaged in or did they intend to seek mental health treatment. Results also suggested that African American older adults were more likely to internalize stigma and endorsed less positive attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment than their white counterparts. Multiple regression analysis indicated that internalized stigma partially mediated the relationship between race and attitudes toward treatment. Stigma associated with having a mental illness has a negative influence on attitudes and intentions toward seeking mental health services among older adults with depression, particularly African American elders. Interventions to target internalized stigma are needed to help engage this population in psychosocial mental health treatments.The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 03/2010; 18(6):531-43. DOI:10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181cc0366 · 4.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Older adults are particularly vulnerable to the effects of depression, however, they are less likely to seek and engage in mental health treatment. African-American older adults are even less likely than their White counterparts to seek and engage in mental health treatment. This qualitative study examined the experience of being depressed among African-American elders and their perceptions of barriers confronted when contemplating seeking mental health services. In addition, we examined how coping strategies are utilized by African-American elders who choose not to seek professional mental health services. A total of 37 interviews were conducted with African-American elders endorsing at least mild symptoms of depression. Interviews were audiotaped and subsequently transcribed. Content analysis was utilized to analyze the qualitative data. Thematic analysis of the interviews with African-American older adults is presented within three areas: (1) Beliefs about Depression Among Older African-Americans; (2) Barriers to Seeking Treatment for Older African-Americans; and (3) Cultural Coping Strategies for Depressed African-American Older Adults. Older African-Americans in this study identified a number of experiences living in the Black community that impacted their treatment seeking attitudes and behaviors, which led to identification and utilization of more culturally endorsed coping strategies to deal with their depression. Findings from this study provide a greater understanding of the stigma associated with having a mental illness and its influence on attitudes toward mental health services.Aging and Mental Health 11/2010; 14(8):971-83. DOI:10.1080/13607863.2010.501061 · 1.75 Impact Factor