Self-stigma, empowerment and perceived discrimination among people with bipolar disorder or depression in 13 European countries: The GAMIAN-Europe study

Elaine Brohan, Dolores Gauci, Norman Sartorius, Graham Thornicroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: There is little information on the degree to which self-stigma is experienced by individuals with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or depression across Europe. This study describes the levels of self-stigma, stigma resistance, empowerment and perceived discrimination reported in these groups. Methods: Data were collected from 1182 people with bipolar disorder or depression using a mail survey with members of national mental health non-governmental organisations. Results: Over one fifth of the participants (21.7%) reported moderate or high levels of self-stigma, 59.7% moderate or high stigma resistance, 63% moderate or high empowerment, and 71.6% moderate or high perceived discrimination. In a reduced multivariate model 27% of the variance in self-stigma scores, among people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or depression, was accounted for by levels of empowerment, perceived discrimination, number of areas of social contact, education and employment. Limitations: Findings are limited by the use of an unweighted sample of members of mental health charity organisations which may be unrepresentative of the reference population. Conclusions: These findings suggest that self-stigma occurs among approximately 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder or depression in Europe. The tailoring of interventions to counteract (or fight against) the elements of self-stigma which are most problematic for the group, be they alienation, stereotype endorsement, social withdrawal or discrimination experience, may confer benefit to people with such disorders. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56 - 63
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume129
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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