Shame, blame, and contamination: A review of the impact of mental illness stigma on family members

Institute of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3424 South Slate Street, Chicago, IL 60616, USA.
Journal of Family Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.89). 07/2006; 20(2):239-46. DOI: 10.1037/0893-3200.20.2.239
Source: PubMed


Family members of relatives with mental illness or drug dependence or both report that they are frequently harmed by public stigma. No population-based survey, however, has assessed how members of the general public actually view family members. Hence, the authors examined ways that family role and psychiatric disorder influence family stigma. A national sample (N = 968) was recruited for this study. A vignette design describing a person with a health condition and a family member was used. Family stigma related to mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, is not highly endorsed. Family stigma related to drug dependence, however, is worse than for other health conditions, with family members being blamed for both the onset and offset of a relative's disorder and likely to be socially shunned.

    • "More recently, there has been somewhat of a genetic revolution, wherein genetic influences on particular human characteristics have been given a new cultural focus (Phelan, 2002). Some groups have argued for more education around the biological roots of mental health difficulties in the hopes of reducing the rhetoric of blame (Corrigan and Watson, 2004). This is a particularly pertinent argument in relation to blame because if the genetic claims are accepted as true, then associated symptoms or behaviour cannot be attributed to bad parenting or weak character. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Systemic family therapy promotes a systemic reframing of individual problems to an understanding of the familial processes influencing family functioning. Parents often attend therapy identifying their child as the key problem, which raises issues of accountability and blame. In this article, we explored the discursive practices used by parents for constructing themselves as ‘good parents’. Using the basic principles of conversation analysis and discursive psychology, we analysed actual therapeutic sessions and found that parents used a range of strategies to display their good parenting. This included directly claiming to be a good parent, illustrating how they act in their child's best interests, showing that they parent in appropriate ways and by making appeals to scientific rhetoric. It was concluded that family therapists have a challenging task in managing competing versions of events and we discussed implications for practice.Practitioner pointsParents tend to blame their children for the problems experienced and this blaming tends to be done in front of the children during the therapy.By being explicitly aware of the discursive strategies parents employ in therapy, therapists can reflect on how to manage these challenging conversational practices.Conversation analysis may serve as a tool to support reflection, as therapists examine their own interactions during the therapy.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Family Therapy
  • Source
    • "The interview protocol was derived from existing literature on stigmatisation and SBA (e.g. Angermeyer et al., 2003; Corrigan et al., 2006), validated scales for assessing experiences of SBA and psychological distress (e.g. Mental Health Inventory, Veit & Ware, 1983; Stigma-by-association scale, Pryor et al., 2012), and previously used protocols (e.g. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: People with mental illness are not the sole recipients of stigmatisation; their immediate family members may be subjected to stigma by association. Through semi-structured interviews, we investigated experiences of stigma by association among 23 immediate family members of people with mental illness. Participants reported experiencing stigma by association from community members, mental health professionals, and civil servants. Familial relationship, co-residence, and the gender of participants appeared to play a role in their stigma experiences; parents and spouses reported different manifestations of stigma by association than siblings and children, participants who lived together with their family member with mental illness reported increased experiences of stigma by association, and in contrast to male participants, female participants reported others thinking they are overprotective and as such perpetuated, maintained, or sustained their family members' mental illness. The relevance of these factors points to the need for tailored education and emotional support provision to family members of people with mental illness. Moreover, in-service training for mental health professionals should include the development of relevant social skills that enable the recognition of familial relationships and roles, and family members' fears, concerns, and problems. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
  • Source
    • "The negative expectations, attitudes, and beliefs towards this group (e.g., a person with mental illness is less intel‐ ligent, less competent, more dangerous, less trustworthy, or less predictable) can, in have reported experiencing negative treatment and social exclusion, avoiding social interactions, and spending energy and resources to conceal their relationship with their family members with mental illness as well (Larson & Corrigan, 2008). Additional‐ ly, family members of people with mental illness have reported being blamed for the onset of their family members' mental illness, being held responsible for relapses, and being seen as incapable by members of their community (Corrigan et al., 2006). Stigma by association is also known to affect how family members of people with men‐ tal illness view their family member with mental illness and these attitudes have been found to impact interpersonal relations and closeness within the family (Crowe & Lyness, 2013; Kreisman & Joy, 1974). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dissertation on stigma by association among family members of perople with mental illness Maastricht University june 11th 2015
    Full-text · Book · Jun 2015
Show more