Mental Illness as a Stigmatized Identity [2018]

In this study, we examine the relationships among reflected appraisals, self-views, and well-being for individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness. We also test a perceptual control model of identity to determine whether discrepancies between stigmatized reflected appraisals and stigmatized self-views are associated with self-evaluation (self-esteem and self-efficacy) and psychological distress (depressive symptoms). We find that stigmatized self-views are significantly associated with lower self-esteem and self-efficacy and higher levels of depressive symptoms. Stigmatized reflected appraisals are also associated with lower self-efficacy and higher depressive symptoms but are not associated with self-esteem. As predicted, discrepancies between reflected appraisals and self-views are associated with lower levels of self-efficacy and higher levels of depressive symptoms; however, we do not find a relationship between identity discrepancy and self-esteem. We discuss the implications of our findings for identity and stigma research.

Kristen Marcussen, Mary Gallagher, Christian Ritter
Society and Mental Health, November 8, 2018