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Neural and Cognitive Correlates of Stigma and Social Rejection in Individuals With Serious Mental Illness (SMI): A Systematic Review of the Literature

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Neural and Cognitive Correlates of Stigma and Social Rejection in Individuals With Serious Mental Illness (SMI): A Systematic Review of the Literature

Dubreucq J et al. Psychiatry Res.

Abstract

Stigma and self-stigma are major issues for people with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). This review's aims were to determine the cognitive and neural processes underlying the effects of stigma and social rejection in people with SMI. A stepwise systematic literature review (PRISMA) was conducted by searching PubMed, Medline and Web of Science using the following keywords: "cyberball" OR "stereotype threat" OR "implicit association test" AND "mental illness". The articles included met the following criteria: (a) reporting on social rejection, stigma or self-stigma (b) diagnosis of SMI (c) available data on the underlying mechanisms. Our search on July 31th 2018 found in 955 articles on PubMed and 3,362 on Web of Science. Hypersensitivity to acute social rejection was found and associated with more self-related negative emotions and more dysfunctional emotion regulation strategies. People with SMI under-performed in cognitive tasks when confronted with stigma. Stigma resistance was described with its neural correlates. Psychiatric symptoms, duration of illness and baseline non-specific distress influenced the response to acute social rejection or stigma. The samples, methods, and reported outcomes were heterogeneous and difficult to compare. Future studies should investigate the associations between self-stigma and responses to acute and chronic social rejection.

Keywords: Cognitive neuroscience; Self-stigma; Severe mental illness; Social rejection; Stigma.

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