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Community Ment Health J. 2007 Oct;43(5):439-58. Epub 2007 Sep 18.

The stigma of psychiatric disorders and the gender, ethnicity, and education of the perceiver.

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  • 1Joint Research Programs in Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Illinois Institute of Technology, 3424 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60616, USA.


The purpose of this study is to determine how the demographics of perceivers influence their stigma of people with mental illness or with substance abuse. A nationally representative sample (N = 968) was asked to respond to a vignette describing a person with a health condition (schizophrenia, drug dependence, or emphysema) and his/her family member. Consistent with our hypotheses, women were less likely to endorse stigma than men. Participants with higher education were also less likely to stigmatize than less educated participants. Contrary to our expectations, nonwhite research participants were more likely to endorse stigma than whites. Implications of these findings for better understanding the stigma of mental illness, and the development of anti-stigma programs, are reviewed.

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