Self-Stigma Factors Involved with Common Versus Severe Mental Illness
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Various discriminatory stereotypes about mental illness are often internalized by the individuals suffering from diverse diagnoses, leading to self-stigma (i.e., discrimination towards oneself that leads to a decrease in self-esteem, self-efficacy, and shame; Hasan & Musleh, 2017b; Hugget, 2018; Rossler, 2016). Although self-stigma affects individuals suffering from severe and common mental illness, most of the research has focused on severe mental illness (Yanos et al., 2015; Corrigan et al., 2016; Corrigan & Rao, 2012). The purpose of my research was to compare factors involved with the self-stigma experienced by individuals with anxiety and depression (i.e., common mental illnesses) and those with severe mental illness. To accomplish this goal an in-depth review of available research was conducted, using predetermined key terms. There were several significant findings: 1. The discriminatory beliefs involved with these two groups differ markedly (common mental illness is associated with weakness, whereas severe mental illness is associated with dangerousness and an inability to recover), but they appear to contribute to a similar path of internalization. 2. Self-stigma levels and resulting quality of life appears to be similar between those suffering from severe and common mental illness, and more dependent on degree of symptoms and employment status. 3. Self-stigma serves as a barrier to treatment and recovery for both groups early in the process of internalization. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.