Self-stigma, group identification, perceived legitimacy of discrimination and mental health service use

Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;195(6):551-2. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.067157.


Stigma may interfere with mental health service use. We measured self-stigma and stigma-related cognitions (group identification and perceived legitimacy of discrimination) at baseline in 85 people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective or affective disorders. After 6 months, 75 (88%) had reported use of mental health services. Controlling for baseline psychopathology, perceived stigma and diagnosis, low perceived legitimacy of discrimination predicted use of counselling/psychotherapy. Strong group identification was associated with participation in mutual-help groups. More self-stigma predicted psychiatric hospitalisation. Cognitive indicators of stigma resilience may predict out-patient service use, whereas self-stigma may increase the risk of psychiatric hospitalisation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Social Identification
  • Stereotyping*
  • Young Adult