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: 7.34). 03/2008; 192(2):144-9. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.039404
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    • "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.
    02/2015; 15. DOI:10.1016/j.invent.2015.01.003
    • "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: Background The nature of stigmatizing attitudes towards children and adolescents with mental health problems has received little empirical attention, despite consensus that such attitudes are widespread. As a consequence, much less is known about stigma in childhood and adolescence and methods of stigma measurement are frequently borrowed from the adult literature. For research on this topic to develop, a theoretically based and developmentally appropriate measure is needed. This study aimed to develop a theory-based peer stigma questionnaire suitable for children and adolescents.Method Participants were 562 children and adolescents aged 9–16 years (M = 12.99 years; SD = 1.6 years) in the Republic of Ireland, 316 female, all were White. The Peer Mental Health Stigmatization Scale (PMHSS) contains 24 statements (negative and positive) about peers with mental health problems that are rated on a 5-point scale. Participants also completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Re-test data was collected after 2 weeks from 109 participants.ResultsPrincipal Components Analysis on the negative statements indicate the presence of two components: Stigma Agreement, personal endorsement of stigmatising statements and Stigma Awareness: awareness of prevailing societal stigma towards youth with mental health problems. The positive statements include three components: Intellectual Ability, Recovery and Friendship.Conclusions The PMHSS is a psychometrically sound instrument with good retest reliability suitable for use with older children and teenagers. Initial use of the scale suggests that personal endorsement of stigma is lower than perceptions of public stigma.
    Child and Adolescent Mental Health 02/2015; DOI:10.1111/camh.12088 · 0.95 Impact Factor
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    • "Four vignettes were generated for this research based on vignettes used by Jorm and colleagues (e.g. Jorm and Wright, 2008). Three of the vignettes included sufficient detail to meet a diagnosis in keeping with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (version IV). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives Mental health literacy is increasingly referenced as a goal of mental health policy. However, the current definition of this concept has a relatively narrow focus on mental disorders. The objectives of this study were to explore mental health literacy through the use of vignettes and to begin to articulate a broader definition. Methods Six groups of young people (n=42) aged between 16 and 25 years old responded to open-ended questions about vignettes depicting fictional characters with diagnosable mental health problems. The responses were analysed using Foucault’s governmentality theory. Results The responses to the vignettes highlighted a range of determinants of our mental health. The young people suggested informal mental health-promoting techniques and highlighted the importance of talking. Ambiguity was reported in relation to the types of knowledge that are important in responding to mental health need. Finally, the responses were reflective of young people who are empathetic and view mental health from the perspective of our shared humanity, rather than as a marginal issue. Conclusions As mental health literacy is increasingly becoming a goal of mental health policy, it is timely that a shared understanding of this important concept is articulated. The current definition of mental health literacy is narrow in its focus on the recognition of mental disorders. A more broad-based definition of mental health literacy should be adopted by policy makers, reflecting the full range of determinants of mental health and recognising the importance of mental wellbeing.
    Irish journal of psychological medicine 01/2015; 32(01):129-136. DOI:10.1017/ipm.2014.82
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