Perceptions of Discrimination Among Persons With Serious Mental Illness

University of Chicago Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Tinley Park, Illinois, 60477, USA.
Psychiatric Services (Impact Factor: 2.41). 09/2003; 54(8):1105-10. DOI: 10.1176/
Source: PubMed


The authors sought to gain further perspective on discrimination experienced by persons with mental illness by comparing self-reports of discrimination due to mental illness to self-reports of discrimination due to other group characteristics, such as race, gender, and sexual orientation.
A total of 1,824 persons with serious mental illness who participated in a baseline interview for a multistate study on consumer-operated services completed a two-part discrimination questionnaire. The first part of the questionnaire assessed participants' perceptions about discrimination due to mental illness as well as more than half a dozen other group characteristics. The second part of the questionnaire asked participants who reported some experience with discrimination to identify areas in which this discrimination occurred, such as employment, education, and housing.
More than half of the study participants (949 participants, or 53 percent) reported some experience with discrimination. The most frequent sources of this discrimination were mental disability, race, sexual orientation, and physical disability. Areas in which discrimination frequently occurred included employment, housing, and interactions with law enforcement. Areas in which discrimination was experienced did not significantly differ among groups of study participants characterized by mental disability, race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability.
Discrimination based on group characteristics other than mental illness does not diminish the impact of stigma associated with mental illness. Antistigma programs need to target not only discrimination related to mental illness but also that associated with other group characteristics, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and physical disability.

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    • "Finally, the cross-sectional design of the current study does not allow for conclusions regarding causality between contact, prejudice, and any mediating factors. While we are able to glean the probable direction of causation based on past research (Corrigan et al., 2003) and the design of our study (capturing past contact and current attitudes), a longitudinal study design is needed to confirm whether greater contact leads to less prejudice and/or if greater prejudice leads to a decreased desire to interact. Additionally, while our identification of intergroup anxiety and positive implicit attitudes as mediators allowed for an enhanced understanding of our model, exploring other possible mediating factors in the relationship between contact and prejudice would add to this complex relationship. "
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    ABSTRACT: Increases in intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) diagnoses coupled with higher rates of inclusion in school and community settings, has created more opportunities for exposure and integration between those with IDD and the mainstream population. Previous research has found that increased contact can lead to more positive attitudes toward those with IDD. The current study further investigated this impact of contact on attitudes by examining the influence of the quality and quantity of contact on both explicit and implicit levels of prejudice, while also considering potential mediation via intergroup anxiety and implicit attitudes. Based on past research and theory, we predicted that contact (especially quality contact) would have a strong relationship with explicit and implicit positive attitudes toward individuals with IDD. In the present study, 550 people completed a survey and short task that measured their level of contact with individuals with IDD across their lifetime, their current attitudes toward these individuals, and other constructs that are thought to influence this relationship. Multiple regression analyses suggested consistent links between higher quality of contact and lower levels of prejudice toward individuals with IDD at both the explicit and implicit levels. After controlling for quality of contact, higher quantity of contact was either not significantly associated with our measures of prejudice or was, importantly, associated with higher levels of prejudice. Additional analyses support intergroup anxiety and implicit positive attitudes as significant mediators in the associations between quality of contact and the various dimensions of explicit prejudice. Thus, it would seem that it is the quality of interpersonal interactions that is most strongly related to positive attitudes toward individuals with IDD, making it crucial to take care when developing inclusion opportunities in community settings.
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    • "The psychological and social sequelae of self-stigma may also be farreaching (Yanos et al., 2010). Psychologically, self-stigma is correlated with feelings of shame (Campbell and Deacon, 2006), depression and demoralisation (Corrigan et al., 2003; Link, 1987; Link et al., 1991; Link et al., 1997), diminished hope and self-esteem (Corrigan et al., 2006; Lysaker et al., 2008; Werner et al., 2008), and the exacerbation of illness-related symptoms. Ritsher and Phelan (2004) argue that the most damaging aspect of experiencing self-stigma may be the feeling that one is no longer a full member of society and/or no longer like " normal " community members. "
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    • "LGBT individuals face elevated rates of stigma, including higher rates of discrimination and violence than sexual and gender dominant groups (Hellman et al., 2010; Kidd et al., 2011; Mizock & Lewis, 2008). One study found reports of discrimination among individuals with mental illness were highest among LGBT individuals (Corrigan et al., 2003). Transgender individuals may experience especially elevated rates of stigma (Kidd et al.). "
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    ABSTRACT: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals with mental illness encounter double stigma of mental illness and LGBT identity that can uniquely impact the process of acceptance of mental illness. Acceptance of mental illness is essential to promoting recovery and may be one of the most crucial and difficult steps in this process. Qualitative case narrative methodology was used to identify themes related to the facilitators and barriers in the acceptance process for lesbian, gay, and transgender (LGT) individuals in the present study. Three participant narratives are presented to assist practitioners in applying these findings to clinical practice. Selected case narratives represent participants with LGT identities to illustrate facilitators and barriers in the acceptance process among individuals within this group. Identified themes included identity factors at the micro level, relational factors at the meso level, and systemic factors at the macro level. Notably, identity-related facilitators of acceptance of mental illness included developing preferred terminology and self-defined language. Implications are suggested for psychotherapy and research pertaining to the process of acceptance of mental illness for LGBT individuals with mental illness.
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