Quality of life and self-stigma in individuals with schizophrenia

I-Chen Tang, Hui-Ching Wu
Psychiatric Quarterly 2012, 83 (4): 497-507
Recent mental illness stigma research has almost exclusively studied community and family responses to the stigmas of mental illness. Too little has been done to understand the current subjective experience of psychiatric patients. Our study explores the influence of self-stigma on the quality of life of mentally disabled people. Participating in the survey were 100 people diagnosed with schizophrenia. Using Ritsher's internalized stigma of mental illness scale, which incorporates alienation, stereotype endorsement, discrimination experience, social withdrawal, and social resistance subscales, along with the standard SF-12, helped us evaluate the subjective experience of mental illness stigma. According to our survey data, self-stigma correlates negatively with all of the quality of life measures except the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness subscale's 'stigma resistance', which did not correlate significantly. Improved stigma resistance requires an understanding of one's sociocultural background and a strong social network to provide the sense of comfort and security that enables a fulfilling life.

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