Psychiatric stigma in treatment-seeking adults with personality problems: evidence from a sample of 214 patients
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Lausanne :Frontiers Research Foundation
Frontiers in psychiatry / Frontiers Research Foundation (Lausanne, Switzerland) - Lausanne, 2010, currens
, p. 1-6
University of Antwerp
Stigmatization is a major burden in adult psychiatric patients with Axis-I diagnoses, as shown consistently in most studies. Significantly fewer studies on the emergence of psychiatric stigma in adult patients with personality disorders (PDs) exist, although the resulting evidence is conclusive. Some authors consider patients with PDs at risk for severe stigmatization because of intense difficulties during interpersonal contact, even in a psychotherapeutic relationship. The aim of this study was primarily the assessment of preexisting stigma in patients referred for intensive treatment for PDs. The study enrolled 214 patients admitted to the adult department of a highly specialized mental health care institute offering psychotherapy for patients with severe and complex personality pathology. All patients underwent a standard assessment with self-report questionnaires and a semi-structured interview to measure Axis II PDs. The stigma consciousness questionnaire and the perceived devaluation-discrimination questionnaire, both validated instruments, were used to measure perceived and actual experiences of stigma. Independent sample t-tests were used to investigate differences in the mean total stigma scores for patients both with and without a PD. One-way ANOVAs were performed to assess the differences between having a borderline PD, another PD, or no PD diagnosis. Multiple regression main effect analyses were conducted in order to explore the impact of the different PD diagnosis on the level of stigma. The mean scores across all patient groups were consistent with rather low stigma. No differences were found for patients with or without a PD diagnosis. Level of stigma in general was not associated with an accumulating number of PDs. Given the remarkable results, we would strongly recommend further investigations in the field to better understand the phenomenon of stigma in all its aspects.