Rose, D., Willis, R., Brohan, E., Sartorius, N., Villares, C., Wahlbeck, K. and Thornicroft, G.
Reported stigma and discrimination by people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia
Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 20, (2), . (doi:10.1017/S2045796011000254).
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Aims. This article examines the extent of stigma and discrimination as reported by people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The hypothesis is that when people express in their own words the discrimination they experience such discrimination will be found to be widespread.
Methods. Seventy-five people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia from 15 different countries were interviewed with a mixed methods instrument to assess reported discrimination. The data were analysed for frequency counts and then a thematic analysis was performed. A conceptual map is provided.
Results. The study was a cross-cultural one but, contrary to expectations, few transnational differences were found. The main hypothesis was supported. Conversely, we found that when participants reported ‘positive discrimination’, this could as easily be conceptualised as being treated similarly to how others in society would expect to be treated.
Conclusion. Negative discrimination is ubiquitous and sometimes connotatively very strong, with reports of humiliation and abuse. ‘Positive discrimination’ conversely indicates that people with a mental illness diagnosis expect discrimination and are grateful when it does not occur. The literature on self-stigma is discussed and found wanting. Similarly, the theory that contact with mentally ill people reduces stigma and discrimination is not fully supported by our results.
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