Stigma and mental illness: are there cultural differences?

Mohamed, Shemin (2011) Stigma and mental illness: are there cultural differences? Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Most of the stigma research to date has been completed in western cultures. Not much is currently known about stigma towards mental illness in non-western cultures. Limited research has also been conducted with young people. Given that adolescence is a critical stage in the development of attitudes and identity formation, it seems an important time to investigate attitudes towards mental illness.
The study investigated whether there were cultural differences in stigmatising attitudes towards people with mental illness, comparing British and Pakistani adolescents living in the UK. Factors shown to influence stigma were also examined. These included labelling of mental illness, familiarity with mental illness and perceived causal attributions.
A quantitative non-experimental cross-sectional design was used. In total 100 adolescents (54 British and 46 Pakistani) completed the survey (online or paper based). Participants were asked to read a vignette describing a person with psychosis and complete a series of questionnaires relating to it.
Results indicated that there were no significant differences in stigma between the two cultural groups. Pakistani adolescents considered that supernatural causes and immoral life style were more likely to cause mental illness. British adolescents were more likely to provide the correct psychiatric diagnosis for the problem described in the vignette. Both groups were found to have similar levels of contact with individuals with mental illness.
Future research is needed to develop a better understanding of how mental illness is constructed and construed in non-western cultures. Additional studies are also required with adolescents. This would allow the development of culturally sensitive services and appropriate anti-stigma campaigns. The application of existing stigma models to non-western cultures and adolescents should be further investigated. The social psychological model appears to be a useful framework that could be used to aid our understanding of stigma in both populations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Users 2593 not found.
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2012 09:38
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2013 14:09


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