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Community Ment Health J. 2013 Feb;49(1):1-6. doi: 10.1007/s10597-011-9445-2. Epub 2011 Oct 22.

The impact of self-stigma and mutual help programs on the quality of life of people with serious mental illnesses.

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  • 1Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, USA. corrigan@iit.edu


Mutual help programs (MHPs) are informal services developed and operated by people with serious mental illnesses for peers with these illnesses. We expect MHPs to have positive effects on quality of life and inverse associations with self-stigma. We hypothesize group identification and social support to be key ingredients that lead to MHPs benefits and hence to also be significant correlates. Eighty-five people with serious mental illness reported current and past MHP experience and completed self-report measures of quality of life, self-stigma, group identification, and social support. Self-stigma was shown to be a significant and large correlate of quality of life. Satisfaction with current and past MHP participation was also associated with quality of life. Group identification and satisfaction with one's support network were significantly and largely associated with MHP satisfaction. MHPs are a specific example of the broader category of consumer operated services which also include drop-in centers and education-for-advocacy programs. Findings about group identification will inform ongoing development of MHPs and consumer operated services, as well as evaluation of these programs.

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