The Research on Stigma

Extensive research is being conducted on discrimination and stigma associated with mental illnesses. Knowing what strategies work and what do not in countering stigma and discrimination helps guide the development and implementation of effective anti-stigma and anti-discrimination programs and activities.

Patrick Corrigan, a researcher from the Illinois Institute of Technology, has done extensive research on stigma over the past couple decades.  After conducting a meta-analysis of anti-stigma efforts in 2012, Corrigan discovered that direct interaction with a person who has a mental illness can decrease stigma more than education for adults, but with adolescents, education is more effective. Additionally, telling others (self-disclosre) about one's own mental illness can result in less stigma, and often leads to a feeling of empowerment, an increase of self-worth and a decrease in self-stigma.

 

Other Recent Research

NEW Why you should never use the term ‘the mentally ill’ - recent research from The Ohio State University finds that language does affect level of tolerance

Stigma from Mental Illnesses High, Probably Worsening (PsychCentral.com, September 23, 2010)

  • "Despite widespread efforts to educate the public of the neurobiological basis for mental illness, researchers have found no improvement in discrimination toward people suffering with serious mental health or substance abuse problems."

Attitudes Toward Mental Illness --- 35 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, 2007 (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), May 28, 2010, 59(20);619-625) 

  • "Negative attitudes about mental illness often underlie stigma, which can cause affected persons to deny symptoms; delay treatment; be excluded from employment, housing, or relationships; and interfere with recovery. Understanding attitudes toward mental illness at the state level could help target initiatives to reduce stigma, but state-level data are scant."

Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness (academic journal article from the World Psychiatric Association)

 

Stigma Research Centers:

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