Self-stigma as a barrier to recovery: a longitudinal study

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2018 Mar;268(2):209-212. doi: 10.1007/s00406-017-0773-2. Epub 2017 Feb 10.


Stigma limits life opportunities of persons with mental illness. Self-stigma, the internalization of negative stereotypes, undermines empowerment and could hinder recovery. Here we examined self-stigma's effect on recovery among 222 disability pensioners with mental illness over 2 years, controlling for age, gender, symptoms and recovery at baseline measured by the Recovery Assessment Scale. More self-stigma at baseline was associated with a significant decrease in recovery after 1 year (not significant after 2 years). An increase of self-stigma from baseline to follow-up predicted less recovery 1 and 2 years later. Interventions that reduce self-stigma could therefore improve recovery.

Keywords: Mental illness; Recovery; Self-stigma.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Stigma*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult