Influences on young people's stigmatising attitudes towards peers with mental disorders: National survey of young Australians and their parents

ORYGEN Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Locked Bag 10, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.99). 03/2008; 192(2):144-9. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.039404
Source: PubMed


Little is known about the development of stigma towards people with mental disorders.
To investigate stigma in young Australians and the influence of exposure to mental disorders, parental attitudes and information campaigns.
A national telephone survey was carried out with 3746 people aged 12-25 years and 2005 co-resident parents. Stigmatising attitudes were assessed in relation to four vignettes (depression, depression with alcohol misuse, social phobia and psychosis).
Stigma was found to have multiple components labelled 'social distance', 'dangerous/unpredictable', 'weak not sick', 'stigma perceived in others' and 'reluctance to disclose'. Exposure to mental disorders and help-seeking in oneself or others was associated with lower scores on some components of stigma but not on others. Young people's attitudes showed specific associations with those of parents. Exposure to campaigns was associated with reductions in beliefs that the person is 'weak not sick'.
Personal experiences, parental attitudes and campaigns all affect stigmatising attitudes.

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    • "Stigma and SDT research, respectively, point to sex and age as important factors in shaping how young people think about peers with mental health problems and peer exclusion. In the stigma literature, research generally implicates males as more stigmatising towards mental illness compared to females (Jorm & Wright, 2008; Williams & Pow, 2007) and that stigma worsens with age (Wahl, 2002). However, when explored together, research shows that often developmental and sex trends are inter-dependent, such that differences in responses are contingent on the perceivers' sex and age, the target peer's sex and mental health disorder (O'Driscoll, Heary, Hennessy, & McKeague, 2012; Swords, Heary, & Hennessy, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Stigma research suggests that exclusion of peers with mental health problems is acceptable, however, no research has explored young people's beliefs about the fairness of exclusion. Group interviews with 148 adolescents explored judgements about the fairness of excluding peers with ADHD or depression from dyads and groups. Young people evaluated exclusion of peers with ADHD or depression from dyads and groups, with the exception of group exclusion of the peer with ADHD, as mostly unfair. Beliefs about the fairness of exclusion were influenced by the attributions that they applied to the target peer's behaviour, social obligations and loyalty within friendships and concerns about the adverse psychological effects of exclusion. Furthermore, their evaluations were influenced by personal beliefs about the social and personal costs of including the target peer. Evaluations of exclusion highlight novel avenues for to develop knowledge on the stigma of mental health problems. Copyright © 2015 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Adolescence 07/2015; 42:59-67. DOI:10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.03.008 · 2.05 Impact Factor
    • "In addition, the instrument was designed to distinguish conceptually between individual respondents' personally held stigma beliefs and their perceptions of societal stigma; we have called it the Peer Mental Health Stigmatization Scale (PMHSS). Although a questionnaire distinguishing between personal and societal stigma has previously been used with teenagers (Calear, Griffiths , & Christensen, 2011; Jorm & Wright, 2008) the instrument did not measure all stigma components and was developed for use with adults (Griffiths et al., 2004). We know of no research that has measured its psychometric properties when completed by children or teenagers. "
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about self-stigma experienced by young people with mental health problems, despite the fact that research has demonstrated its existence. In the present study, we sought to investigate the experiences of self-stigma in childhood and adolescence, and particularly the nature of change in self-stigma across this developmental period. Young adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression before their 18th birthdays were interviewed about their experiences within their peer groups during childhood and adolescence. This qualitative study involved open-ended interviews with 16 young adults aged 18-30 years. Interviews focused on the experience of stigmatization, responses to stigma, and how these changed over time. Three main themes pertaining to self-stigma emerged: (a) being different, (b) peer stigmatization and associated experiences of self-stigma, and (c) selective disclosure and a move toward greater openness. The findings also suggested that the passing of time and changes in young people's social networks and/or degrees of recovery were associated with changes in their experiences of self-stigma. During childhood and adolescence, self-stigma is characterized by a sense of being different from peers and negative self-evaluation as a consequence of that difference. However, our findings also demonstrated that some young people were prepared to challenge the stigma they experienced. Further research is needed to understand the factors that contribute to these differing responses and to develop antistigma interventions that facilitate the inclusion of young people with mental health problems in their peer groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 03/2015; 38(2). DOI:10.1037/prj0000121 · 0.75 Impact Factor
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    • "The consequences of stigma and self-stigma Social distancing, or a stated preference for avoiding various types of interactions with stigmatised individuals (such as hiring them for a job, or going out on a date) is considered a central manifestation of stigma (Corrigan et al., 2001; Mak et al., 2007). Population-based data suggests that people try to avoid individuals with mental illness across numerous circumstances, even those that require little direct contact (Jorm and Wright, 2008; Stier and Hinshaw, 2007). In a path analytic study, Corrigan et al. (2002) demonstrated that endorsement of prejudicial attitudes regarding mental illness led to socially avoidant behaviour, including an unwillingness to live and work alongside people labelled mentally ill. "
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    ABSTRACT: A number of health problems are associated with significant stigma, a social phenomenon in which individuals become the object of negative stereotypes. In addition to experiencing negative reactions from others, stigmatised individuals and groups can experience harmful consequences when they internalise these negative prevailing attitudes. The objective of this paper was to consider the potential to develop Internet-based health-related interventions explicitly targeting the effects of stigma on the individual. A review of the literature was conducted to synthesise current conceptualisations of stigma and self-stigma across a number of groups, and to identify current intervention developments. Self-stigma reduction strategies developed for in-person services include cognitive reframing, myth busting, contact with other members of the stigmatised group, and disclosure promotion. The development and provision of interventions targeting self-stigma within an online environment is in its infancy. Our review considers there to be particular potential of online interventions for this target, associated with the capacity of the Internet to promote having contact with peers within one’s stigmatised group, and for user interaction and empowerment. We conclude that self-stigma is a domain in which there is significant potential for innovation with health-related interventions, and provide a number of recommendations for online intervention development.
    Internet Interventions 02/2015; 15. DOI:10.1016/j.invent.2015.01.003
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