A brief anti-stigma intervention for Chinese immigrant caregivers of individuals with psychosis: adaptation and initial findings

Lawrence H Yang, Grace Y Lai, Ming Tu, Maggie Luo, Ahtoy Wonpat-Borja, Valerie W Jackson, Roberto Lewis-Fernández, Lisa Dixon
Transcultural Psychiatry 2014, 51 (2): 139-57
Mental illness stigma has adverse effects on both the caregivers' psychological well-being and the effectiveness of care that consumers receive. While anti-stigma interventions for family caregivers from Western settings have recently shown efficacy, these interventions may not be equally applicable across culturally diverse groups. Specifically, Chinese immigrant caregivers experience heightened internalized stigma, which predisposes the adoption of harmful coping strategies and reduced quality of social networks. We present an anti-stigma intervention based on a peer-family group format, co-led by a clinician and a trained family caregiver, to counter stigma among Chinese immigrants. Data are presented from a brief intervention administered to a pilot sample of 11 Chinese immigrant caregivers that provides: psychoeducation, strategies to counter experienced discrimination, and techniques to resist internalized stigma. Case vignettes illustrate implementation of this intervention, and how the peer-family format via interactive contact counteracts internalized stereotypes, encourages adaptive coping strategies, and reinvigorates social networks. Quantitative results further suggest preliminary efficacy in reducing internalized stigma for caregivers who evidenced at least some prior internalized stigma. This study constitutes an initial but important step towards reducing mental illness stigma among Asian Americans, for whom stigma has played a powerful role in the delay and underuse of treatment.

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