Stigma limits life opportunities of persons with mental illness. Self-stigma, the internalization of negative stereotypes, undermines empowerment and could hinder recovery. Here we examined self-stigma’s effect on recovery among 222 disability pensioners with mental illness over 2 years, controlling for age, gender, symptoms and recovery at baseline measured by the Recovery Assessment Scale. More self-stigma at baseline was associated with a significant decrease in recovery after 1 year (not significant after 2 years). An increase of self-stigma from baseline to follow-up predicted less recovery 1 and 2 years later. Interventions that reduce self-stigma could therefore improve recovery.

Nathalie Oexle, Mario Müller, Wolfram Kawohl, Ziyan Xu, Sandra Viering, Christine Wyss, Stefan Vetter, Nicolas Rüsch
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, March 2018, Volume 268, Issue 2, 10 February 2017