Public perceptions of stigma towards people with schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety



Lisa Wood, Michele Birtel, Sarah Alsawy, Melissa Pyle, Anthony Morrison

Psychiatry Research

July 14, 2014



Stigma is one of the greatest challenges facing people with a psychiatric diagnosis. They are widely stigmatised by the general public in the western world. The aim of this study was to examine public stigma attitudes towards schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2008 opinions survey (n=1070) was utilised. Percentage of endorsements for stigma items were initially compared to the previous 1998 and 2003 databases. Overall stigma attitudes had decreased (from 1998 to 2008) but increased since 2003. A principal components factor analysis identified that stigma attitudes have the same three factors structure across all diagnoses; negative stereotypes, patient blame and inability to recover. Schizophrenia was significantly associated with the most negative stereotypes, least blamed and viewed as least likely to recover compared to anxiety and depression. Public and individualised interventions that target diagnostic variability in stigma attitudes need to be developed and examined in future research.









Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee