Exploring Social Factors of Mental Illness Stigmatization in Adolescents with Mental Disorders VC01-VC04
Dr. Somayeh Shokrgozar,
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Shafa Hospital, School of Medicine,
Guilan University of Medical Science, Rasht, Iran
Introduction: Labelling children and adolescents having mental disorders as “mentally ill” leads to their isolation from the society. Little information is available about the impact of this stigma on such individuals in Iran.
Aim:The purpose of the current study is to explore social factors of mental illness stigma in adolescents diagnosed with mental diseases.
Materials and Methods: This descriptive-analytic study was done using purposive convenience sampling. Data was collected using the questions of ‘stigma dimension’ of Experience of Care giving Inventory (ECI). A total of 113 adolescents having mental disorders with/without a history of psychiatric hospitalization answered the questions.
Results: The results showed that the stigma of mental illness has a significant relationship with schizophrenia, affective disorder, substance-induced psychosis and Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (p=0.001), but it does not have such a relationship with depression, anxiety and hyperactivity. It was revealed that if a teenager with mental disorder has a friend while undergoing treatment; it will be much easier to overcome the stress of stigma. Moreover, there was a significant relationship between the worry of adolescents concerning the attributing of stigmatization to their families and schizophrenia, affective disorder, substance-induced psychosis and depression (p=0.001). The relationship between the stigma of mental illness and the type of treatment (outpatient, inpatient at least once, history of more than one hospitalization) was significant in psychotic patients (p=0.001) but not so in the case of adolescents with depression, anxiety, OCD and hyperactivity.
Conclusion: Factors such as the low awareness level of Iranians with respect to the symptoms of mental diseases and the familys fear of this stigma result in further widening the gap between early signs of a mental disorder and its treatment, so that families are ashamed of having a mentally ill person at home. The labeling of mental illness can be threatening to teenagers by leading them to associate with small heterogeneous social groups which often include people with a history of misbehaviour; hence there is rise of crime rates in this group of patients.