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
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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
    • "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 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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