Stigma: The feelings and experiences of 46 people with mental illness. Qualitative study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 184, 176-181

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.99). 03/2004; 184(2):176-81. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.184.2.176
Source: PubMed


Stigma defines people in terms of some distinguishing characteristic and devalues them as a consequence.
To describe the relationship of stigma with mental illness, psychiatric diagnosis, treatment and its consequences of stigma for the individual.
Narrative interviews were conducted by trained users of the local mental health services; 46 patients were recruited from community and day mental health services in North London.
Stigma was a pervasive concern to almost all participants. People with psychosis or drug dependence were most likely to report feelings and experiences of stigma and were most affected by them. Those with depression, anxiety and personality disorders were more affected by patronising attitudes and feelings of stigma even if they had not experienced any overt discrimination. However, experiences were not universally negative.
Stigma may influence how a psychiatric diagnosis is accepted, whether treatment will be adhered to and how people with mental illness function in the world. However, perceptions of mental illness and diagnoses can be helpful and non-stigmatising for some patients.

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Available from: Michael B King, Jul 29, 2014
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    • "Homogeneity gives the illusion that all members of the group under consideration are identical, sharing the same characteristics and having the same needs, so the diagnosis in most cases is wrong. The diagnostic label becomes an umbrella under which circumstances patients are grouped ,who may ,however, have very strong differences between them, both as to the condition and as to the diagnosis (Dinos et al, 2004). Moreover, the sense of homogeneity favours the reproduction of prejudices reinforcing stigma once again . "
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