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.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.