Self-stigma, perceived discrimination and empowerment among people with a mental illness in six countries: Pan European stigma study

Christin Krajewski, Genc Burazeri, Helmut Brand
Psychiatry Research 2013 December 30, 210 (3): 1136-46
A cross-sectional study including 796 individuals with a psychiatric disorder was conducted in Croatia, Israel, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Sweden in 2010 aiming to assess correlates of self-stigma. The Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness (ISMI) was used to measure self-stigma, whereas the Boston University Empowerment Scale was used to measure the self-efficacy/self-esteem (SESE) and sense of power/powerlessness (PP). Perceived discrimination and devaluation was measured with the Perceived Devaluation and Discrimination (PDD) Scale. Thirty three percent of participants had moderate-to-high ISMI scores. In multivariable-adjusted analysis, significant 'predictors' of high ISMI scores were: age-group of 50-59 years, current employment, lower social contacts, and minimal-to-low SESE and PP scores. Remarkably, no significant association between ISMI and PDD was evident. Furthermore, there was evidence of a significant interaction between SESE and country. Study participants might not be representative to all individuals with mental disorders in countries included in this survey. Our findings indicate that people with psychiatric diseases suffer both self-stigma and perceived discrimination and devaluation. This is one of the very few reports highlighting country differences and diagnosis disparities of self-stigma among individuals with mental illnesses. Between-country differences should be considered and carefully addressed in the process of policy formulation and interventional programs against stigma.

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