Gender specific correlates of stigma toward depression in a Canadian general population sample

Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
Journal of Affective Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.38). 12/2007; 103(1-3):91-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2007.01.010
Source: PubMed


To identify gender specific demographic, clinical, knowledge and attitudinal factors associated with stigma related to depression.
Data were collected between February and June 2006 in a probability sampled population-based survey of 3047 adults in Alberta, Canada. Measures included a depression stigma scale. Correlates of stigma were examined using bivariate analyses and linear regression modeling methods separately for men and women.
In multivariate linear regression models, correct identification of depression in a case description and agreement with health professionals about treatments were associated with lower stigma scores, regardless of gender. Endorsing GP/family doctors and taking medications as being the best help for depression was negatively associated with stigma scores in women. In men, endorsing family/friends as the best help for depression or "don't know" the best help for depression was positively associated with stigma scores. Women who had family/friends with depression had less stigma than women who did not have. This was not observed in men. Among male participants, significant interactions between being a health professional, having close family/friends with depression and reporting "weakness of character" as a causal factor for depression were found.
Improving mental health literacy may be one of the promising ways to reduce stigma associated with depression. Personal contacts with individuals with depression may have positive effects on stigma in women. Mental health education and promotion should clarify misconceptions about causes, treatments and risk factors for depression. Gender differences related to stigma should be considered in stigma reduction initiatives.

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    • "According to several researchers, the association between gender and stigmatising attitudes in the general population is not clearly demonstrated (Cook & Wang, 2010; Crisp et al., 2000, 2005; Dietrich et al., 2004; Griffiths et al., 2008; Lauber et al., 2000, 2004). However, an association between gender and the perception of social stigma has been suggested and explained by the fact that women have higher levels of depression literacy than men and that mental health literacy correlated with lower levels of depression stigma (Cook & Wang, 2010; Wang et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: To document the reliability, construct and nomological validity of the perceived Social Stigmatisation (STIG) scale in the older adult population. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Primary medical health services clinics. Participants: Probabilistic sample of older adults aged 65 years and over waiting for medical services in the general medical sector (n = 1765). Measurements: Perceived social stigma against people with a mental health problem was measured using the STIG scale composed of seven indicators. Results: A second-order measurement model of perceived social stigma fitted adequately the observed data. The reliability of the STIG scale was 0.83. According to our results, 39.6% of older adults had a significant level of perceived social stigma against people with a mental health problem. Results showed that the perception of social stigma against mental health problems was not significantly associated with a respondent gender and age. Results also showed that the perception of social stigma against the mental health problems was directly associated with the respondents' need for improved mental health (b = -0.10) and indirectly associated with their use of primary medical health services for psychological distress symptoms (b = -0.07). Conclusion: Results lead us to conclude that social stigma against mental disorders perceived by older adults may limit help-seeking behaviours and warrants greater public health and public policy attention. Also, results lead us to conclude that physicians should pay greater attention to their patients' attitudes against mental disorders in order to identify possible hidden mental health problems.
    Aging and Mental Health 08/2014; 19(5):1-11. DOI:10.1080/13607863.2014.944092 · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    • "A Canadian study aimed to identify factors associated with stigma related to depression in a probability sampled population-based survey of 3,047 adults, 2,557 (958 men and 1,599 women) of whom participated in multivariate regression analysis.23 Computer-assisted telephone interview was used to assess personal depression stigma, depression literacy, lifetime major depression, and demographics. "
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    ABSTRACT: There are two principal types of stigma in mental illness, ie, "public stigma" and "self-stigma". Public stigma is the perception held by others that the mentally ill individual is socially undesirable. Stigmatized persons may internalize perceived prejudices and develop negative feelings about themselves. The result of this process is "self-stigma". Stigma has emerged as an important barrier to the treatment of depression and other mental illnesses. Gender and race are related to stigma. Among depressed patients, males and African-Americans have higher levels of self-stigma than females and Caucasians. Perceived stigma and self-stigma affect willingness to seek help in both genders and races. African-Americans demonstrate a less positive attitude towards mental health treatments than Caucasians. Religious beliefs play a role in their coping with mental illness. Certain prejudicial beliefs about mental illness are shared globally. Structural modeling indicates that conformity to dominant masculine gender norms ("boys don't cry") leads to self-stigmatization in depressed men who feel that they should be able to cope with their illness without professional help. These findings suggest that targeting men's feelings about their depression and other mental health problems could be a more successful approach to change help-seeking attitudes than trying to change those attitudes directly. Further, the inhibitory effect of traditional masculine gender norms on help-seeking can be overcome if depressed men feel that a genuine connection leading to mutual understanding has been established with a health care professional.
    Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 07/2014; 10:1399-1405. DOI:10.2147/NDT.S54081 · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    • "The structured questionnaire was in English. The question items and two clinical vignettes were developed based on review of the relevant literature (Lawrie et al., 1998; Jorm et al., 1999; Baker et al., 2005; Munro and Baker, 2007; Chow et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2007; Volmer et al., 2008) and input from research team members. The two clinical vignettes that portrayed schizophrenia and depression were presented separately in two sets of survey instrument with identical question items. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aims to describe the attitudes of primary care physicians towards mental health patients in Hong Kong, especially to examine the doctors' views on schizophrenia and depression, and the influence of their demographic variables. A questionnaire developed by the research team was sent to members of Hong Kong College of Family Physicians. Potential respondents were allocated on equal basis to one of the two sets of questionnaire, set 1 for clinical vignette of schizophrenia and set 2 for depression. A response rate of 37% (500 of 1,360) was achieved. There were 255 and 245 returned questionnaires for set 1 and set 2, respectively. Comparing the two clinical vignettes, there were large differences in their willingness to have the patient on practice list for mental issues (40.0% for schizophrenia versus 71.5% for depression) and to deal with the patient's needs (37.0% versus 60.9%). Multiple ordinal logistic regression analysis showed that doctors with the following demographic factors tended to have more worries or stigma on mental health patients: "having longer years of practice," "being female," "working in hospital," "employed in public sector," and "not having a relative/friend with mental health problems." Our study shows that two-thirds of primary care doctors are prepared to look after patients with depression, which is substantially higher than that for schizophrenia. In contrast with the Australian findings, the experienced doctors in Hong Kong have more negative attitudes towards mental health patients than the younger ones.
    Asia-Pacific Psychiatry 03/2013; 5(1):E19-28. DOI:10.1111/j.1758-5872.2012.00208.x · 0.63 Impact Factor
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