Stigma and disclosing one’s mental illness to family and friends



Nicolas Rüsch, Elaine Brohan, Jheanell Gabbidon, Graham Thornicroft, Sarah Clement

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

April 2014




People with mental illness face the dilemma whether or not to disclose their condition. We examined stigma variables and their relationship with comfort disclosing.


Comfort with disclosure, well-being, symptoms and aspects of experiencing and reacting to stigma were assessed among 202 individuals with mental illness.


Controlling for symptoms, greater comfort disclosing one’s mental illness was associated with lower anticipated discrimination and lower stigma stress; more comfort disclosing was related to greater well-being.


Anticipated discrimination as an external threat and stigma-related stress as an internal process may reduce comfort with disclosure and could be targeted in interventions.