Background: Severe mental disorders are associated with social distance from the general population, but there is lack of data on the stigma reported by individuals with common mental disorders.
Aims: To identify the correlates and the impact of stigma among individuals with common mental disorders.
Methods: Cross-sectional, household interview survey of 8796 representing the non-institutionalized adults of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Two perceived stigma questions (embarrassment and discrimination) were asked to respondents with significant disability. Health-related quality of life measured by the SF-12, work and activity limitation and social limitation were also assessed.
Results: Among the 815 participants with a 12-month mental disorder and significant disability, 14.8% had perceived stigma. Stigma was significantly associated with low education, being married/living with someone and being unemployed. Perceived stigma was associated with decreased quality of life (SF-12 PCS score -4.65; p<0.05), higher work and role limitation and higher social limitation.
Conclusion: Individuals with mental disorders are more likely to report stigma if they have lower education, are married, or are unemployed. Perceived stigma is associated with considerably decrease in quality of life and role functioning. Health professionals and society at large must be aware of these findings, which suggest that fighting stigma should be a public health priority.