Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
J Affect Disord. 2013 Dec;151(3):805-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.08.014. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Bipolar disorder and stigma: a systematic review of the literature.

Author information

  • 1Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology Research Department, University College London, London WC1E 7HB, United Kingdom. Electronic address: nell.ellison.10@ucl.ac.uk.



The degree to which bipolar disorder is stigmatised by the public and the extent of internalised stigma for people with this disorder, their families, and carers has been a relatively neglected area of research. This review aimed to determine what is currently known about stigma and bipolar disorder.


A systematic search of the literature was conducted to identify publications which investigated public attitudes and/or beliefs about bipolar disorder or explored internalised stigma in bipolar disorder. The electronic databases PsychINFO, Medline, Embase, and Web of Science were searched for articles published between 1992 and 2012.


Twenty five articles met the reviews inclusion criteria. There are inconsistent findings regarding public stigma, although there is some evidence that bipolar disorder is viewed more positively than schizophrenia and less positively than depression. There is a moderate to high degree of internalised stigma in bipolar disorder, although the literature raises questions regarding its ubiquity in this population.


Limiting the search by year of publication and excluding studies where stigma was not the main focus could mean stigma has wider implications than were identified.


This review is the first systematic synthesis of research relating to stigma and bipolar disorder. In comparison to research on other mental health problems, there is a dearth of literature exploring stigma in bipolar disorder. The literature is largely inconclusive. Future research is needed to replicate tentative findings and address methodological limitations before the field can move on to the development of anti-stigma interventions.

© 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Bipolar disorder; Internalised stigma; Public stigma

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk