This study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate stigma experiences and self-concepts of individuals with both mental illness and criminal histories. The full sample of participants completed self-report measures of self-concept related to mental illness, race, and criminal history, and a brief qualitative self-concept measure. A subsample of participants completed semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed for content domains. Analyses suggested that several aspects of self-concept related to responses on stigma measures. Participants who identified their own styles of acting, feeling, and thinking tended to exhibit less mental illness self-stigma. Qualitative interview findings suggested that the majority of participants described stigma experiences related to mental illness, race, and criminal history, and these stigmatized identities negatively influenced one another. Conclusions review how stigmatized identities can intersect in powerful ways for individuals with mental illness and histories of criminal offending, and discuss implications for future research and clinical practice.

Michelle L. West, Abby L. Mulay, Joseph S. DeLuca, Keira O’Donovan & Philip T. Yanos
The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 15 Jan 2018