Stigma Resistance in Stable Schizophrenia: The Relative Contributions of Stereotype Endorsement, Self-Reflection, Self-Esteem, and Coping Styles [2017]

Stigma resistance (SR) has recently emerged as a prominent aspect of research on recovery from schizophrenia, partly because studies have suggested that the development of stigma-resisting beliefs may help individuals lead a fulfilling life and recover from their mental illness. The present study assessed the relationship between personal SR ability and prediction variables such as self-stigma, self-esteem, self-reflection, coping styles, and psychotic symptomatology.

We performed an exploratory cross-sectional study of 170 community-dwelling patients with schizophrenia. Self-stigma, self-esteem, self-reflection, coping skills, and SR were assessed through self-report. Psychotic symptom severity was rated by the interviewers. Factors showing significant association in univariate analyses were included in a stepwise backward regression model.

Stepwise regressions revealed that acceptance of stereotypes of mental illness, self-esteem, self-reflection, and only 2 adaptive coping strategies (positive reinterpretation and religious coping) were significant predictors of SR. The prediction model accounted for 27.1% of the variance in the SR subscale score in our sample.

Greater reflective capacity, greater self-esteem, greater preferences for positive reinterpretation and religious coping, and fewer endorsements of the stereotypes of mental illness may be key factors that relate to higher levels of SR. These factors are potentially modifiable in tailored interventions, and such modification may produce considerable improvements in the SR of the investigated population. This study has implications for psychosocial rehabilitation and emerging views of recovery from mental illness.

Yu-Chen Kao, MD, MPH, Yin-Ju Lien, PhD, Hsin-An Chang, MD, Nian-Sheng Tzeng, MD, Chin-Bin Yeh, MD, PhD, Ching-Hui Loh, MD, PhD
The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol 62, Issue 10, 2017