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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    • "Among urban and rural based respondents, rural men had higher stigma toward depression, even more so when they had poor depression literacy (Jones et al. 2011). Men who were unsure about the best available resources for depression or preferred to rely on personal support systems to treat depression were more likely to stigmatize depression (Wang et al. 2007a). "
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    ABSTRACT: Stigma in men's depression and suicide can restrict help-seeking, reduce treatment compliance and deter individuals from confiding in friends and family. In this article we report sex comparison findings from a national survey of English-speaking adult Canadians about stigmatized beliefs concerning male depression and suicide. Among respondents without direct experience of depression or suicide (n = 541) more than a third endorsed the view that men with depression are unpredictable. Overall, a greater proportion of males endorsed stigmatizing views about male depression compared to female respondents. A greater proportion of female respondents endorsed items indicating that men who suicide are disconnected, lost and lonely. Male and female respondents with direct personal experience of depression or suicide (n = 360) strongly endorsed stigmatizing attitudes toward themselves and a greater proportion of male respondents indicated that they would be embarrassed about seeking help for depression.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Community Mental Health Journal
    • "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.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Aging and Mental Health
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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.
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