Background: An individual's capacity to counteract the stigma of mental illness, stigma resistance (SR), is considered as playing a crucial role in fighting stigma. However, little is known about SR and its correlates in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
Aim: Exploring SR in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
Method: One hundred fifty-seven participants completed the "Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness" (ISMI) Scale including its subscale on SR. Measures of perceived devaluation and discrimination, depression, self-esteem, empowerment, quality of life, and demographic and clinical variables were obtained.
Results: Two-thirds of all patients showed high SR. SR correlated positively with self-esteem, empowerment, and quality of life and negatively with stigma measures and depression. A social network with a sufficient number of friends, being single or married, in contrast to being separated, as well as receiving outpatient treatment, was associated with higher SR.
Conclusions: SR is a new and promising concept. The development of stigma-resisting beliefs might help individuals in their hope of finding a fulfilling life and in their recovery from mental illness.