The Paradox of Self-Stigma and Mental Illness

  title={The Paradox of Self-Stigma and Mental Illness},
  author={Patrick W. Corrigan and Amy C. Watson},
  journal={Clinical Psychology-science and Practice},
Published narratives by persons with serious mental illness eloquently describe the harmful effects of stigma on self-esteem and self-efficacy. However, a more careful review of the research literature suggests a paradox; namely, personal reactions to the stigma of mental illness may result in significant loss in self-esteem for some, while others are energized by prejudice and express righteous anger. Added to this complexity is a third group: persons who neither lose self-esteem nor become… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

On the Self-Stigma of Mental Illness: Stages, Disclosure, and Strategies for Change
  • P. Corrigan, D. Rao
  • Psychology
    Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie
  • 2012
It is argued that a key to challenging self-stigma is to promote personal empowerment, and individual- and societal-level methods for reducing self-Stigma, programs led by peers as well as those led by social service providers are discussed.
Stigma Resistance and Well-Being in the Context of the Mental Illness Identity
Using in-depth interviews with active clients of a community mental health center, it is found that deflection, or distancing oneself from mental illness, is associated with greater self-esteem and fewer depressive symptoms.
Self-stigma in people with mental illness.
A model of self-stigma is described and a hierarchy of mediational processes within the model is examined to provide partial support for the proposed mediations and point to GI, PL, and stereotype agreement as areas to be considered for intervention.
Resisting the Stigma of Mental Illness
The relationship between stigmatization and the self-regard of patients/consumers with mental disorder is negative but only moderate in strength, probably because a subset of persons with mental
A qualitative investigation of self-stigma among adolescents taking psychiatric medication.
A self-stigma model comprising three narrative components: stereotype, differentiate, and protect was revealed among adolescents, similar to yet distinct from the adult model, and developmental differences may contribute to the variation.
Self-Stigma Among People With Mental Health Problems in Terms of Warmth and Competence
Introduction Self-stigma arising from public stigma is a heavy burden for people suffering from mental health problems. Both public stigma and self-stigma encompass the same three elements:
Examination of self-stigma and distress intolerance in college students diagnosed with a mental illness
There is a statistically significant and clinically meaningful positive association between scores on the SSMIS-SF and DTS, suggesting there is a relationship between the two constructs.
Understanding and Reducing Implicit Mental Illness Stigma: A Contemporary Prejudice Perspective
The stigma of mental illness is a serious social issue that exists across nations and cultures. Over the years, numerous anti-stigma campaigns have been developed to reduce the stigma associated with
The Content and Process of Self-Stigma in People With Mental Illness
  • K. Chan, W. Mak
  • Psychology
    The American journal of orthopsychiatry
  • 2017
A measure of the habitual process of self-stigma—the Self-stigmatizing Thinking’s Automaticity and Repetition Scale (STARS) is developed and validated so that a richer picture of its development, perpetuation, and influence can be captured.


Social Stigma and Self-Esteem: Situational Construction of Self-Worth
Many classic analyses of stigmatization assume that negative images and stereotypes are internalized, resulting in stable low self-esteem in the stigmatized across many situations. I argue here that
The impact of stigma on severe mental illness
Individual strategies for coping with the stigma of severe mental illness
Prejudice, social distance, and familiarity with mental illness.
This study examines the paths between two prejudicial attitudes (authoritarianism and benevolence) and a proxy measure of behavioral discrimination (social distance) in a sample drawn from the general public and discusses how these findings might contribute to a fuller understanding of mental illness stigma.
Family views of stigma.
Overall, survey results indicate that considerable concern about stigma exists among families with mentally ill relatives and that substantial numbers of family members experience the stigma of mental illness in one form or another and perceive that their ill relatives experience it as well.
Mental health consumers' experience of stigma.
  • O. Wahl
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Schizophrenia bulletin
  • 1999
The majority of respondents tended to try to conceal their disorders and worried a great deal that others would find out about their psychiatric status and treat them unfavorably, and they reported discouragement, hurt, anger, and lowered self-esteem as results of their experiences.
Social stigma and self-esteem: The self-protective properties of stigma.
Although several psychological theories predict that members of stigmatized groups should have low global self-esteem, empirical research typically does not support this prediction. It is proposed
Deinstitutionalization, social rejection, and the self-esteem of former mental patients.
This work explores changes in a cohort of recently deinstitutionalized mental patients' self-esteem and experiences with social rejection using data from a three wave panel survey conducted while institutionalized and over a two-year period following the patients' discharge from a long-term state hospital.
Mental health stigma as social attribution: Implications for research methods and attitude change.
The course and outcomes of mental illness are hampered by stigma and discrimination. Research on controllability attributions has mapped the relationships between signaling events, mediating stigma,
Generalizability and specificity of the stigma associated with the mental illness label: A reconsideration twenty‐five years later
The current status of the generalizability (i.e., application across situations) and specificity (i.e., differentiation from other deviant behavior stigmas) of the mental illness stigma was