Purpose: Studies on the association between psychopathology, perceived public stigma, and labeling in mental illness have focused primarily on severe but rare mental disorders, especially schizophrenia, or other clinically defined psychotic disorders. Although evidence is mounting that psychosis-like experiences show high prevalence in the general population and lead to an increased risk of psychotic disorders, little is known about how psychosis-like experiences independently affect perceived public stigma in the non-clinical population. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between psychosis-like experiences and perceived public stigma in a non-clinical sample.
Methods: For this cross-sectional study, we recruited 524 individuals (239 male, 285 female) who had no lifetime history of psychiatric disorder. Participants completed questionnaires that asked for sociodemographic and clinical information, a measure of perceived public stigma (Perceived Psychiatric Stigma Scale [PPSS]), and two measures of psychosis-like experiences (Peters et al. Delusions Inventory [PDI]; Cardiff Anomalous Perceptions Scale [CAPS]).
Results: Of the sociodemographic characteristics analyzed in this study-gender, age, education level, marital status, and religion-only age simultaneously influenced PPSS, PDI, and CAPS scores. As hypothesized, perceived public stigma was positively correlated with measures of psychosis-like experiences, even after controlling for age. Furthermore, the perceived stigma was more strongly associated with delusion proneness than with anomalous perceptual experiences.
Conclusion: The association between psychopathology and perceived public stigma appears to extend beyond clinically defined psychosis to more common psychosis-like experiences in a sample drawn from the general Han Chinese population.