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Stigma Health. 2016 Nov;1(4):252-262. doi: 10.1037/sah0000032. Epub 2016 Mar 7.

Emotional Clarity as a Buffer in the Association Between Perceived Mental Illness Stigma and Suicide Risk.

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Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University.
Department of Psychiatry, Division of Prevention and Community Research, School of Medicine, Yale University.
Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division, School of Public Health, Yale University.
School of Public Policy, University of California, riverside.


Among people living with psychiatric disorders, mental illness stigma has been identified as a major barrier to recovery by contributing to low self-esteem and interfering with treatment-seeking. The present research examined the association between perceived mental illness stigma and suicide risk severity and considered the role of emotional clarity (i.e., the ability to identify and understand one's emotional experiences), a critical component of emotion regulation, as a moderator of this association. A sample of individuals who had experienced recent psychiatric hospitalizations (N = 184) completed self-report measures of perceived stigma associated with their psychiatric diagnoses, deficits in emotional clarity, and behaviors that have been found to confer risk for suicide. A moderation analysis revealed that perceived mental illness stigma was positively associated with suicide risk severity, but only for individuals who have greater deficits in emotional clarity. These findings highlight the role of emotional clarity as a resource for individuals coping with mental illness stigma and underscore the potential utility of targeting deficits in emotional clarity in prevention and intervention efforts for reducing suicide risk.


coping; emotion regulation; emotional clarity; mental illness stigma; suicide risk

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