Demographic, social and clinical variables of anticipated and experienced stigma of mental illness
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Arch Psych Psych 2009;11(2):49–63
Aim. In recent years, numerous research projects were carried out involving various research centres, including Poland, to assess the subjective experience of stigma among mentally ill people. The aim of this study was to describe the anticipated and experienced stigma (Publication 2007, part I) and to analyse relationships between demographic, social and clinical factors, and anticipated and experienced stigma (part II). Material and method. 202 patients from the Malopolska region diagnosed with schizophrenia and schizotypal syndromes (ICD 10). Average age : 40, average number of hospitalisations : 6. Angermeyer's questionnaire. The patients shared their opinions (part A) and experiences (part B) concerning stigma. To analyse inter-group comparisons Mann-Whitney U-test was used, complex relationships were assessed with forward stepwise regression. Results. 1) Older age and living in a large town account for anticipated stigma to a limited but significant extent; a stronger experience of stigma is explained, to a limited but significant extent, with better education, lack of employment and a higher number of earlier hospitalizations. 2) the anticipation of stigma explains to a significant extent the experience of stigma, especially the beliefs that : contacts between healthy and mentally ill people are affected by negative stereotypes and therefore hindered; the mentally ill have fewer employment opportunities; the mentally ill and healthy people cannot be partners; the mentally ill have limited access to institutionally granted benefits. 3) In our study, gender proved to be of no significance for the explanation of the indicators of stigma. Conclusions. 1) Anticipated and experienced stigma may be explained on the basis of social, demographic and clinical factors to a limited, but significant extent. 2) The intensity of experienced stigma, to a limited but significant extent, may be accounted for by anticipation of stigma. 3) Therapeutic programmes should focus on raising self-esteem and preventing self-stigma.