Stigma towards Mental Health Problems during Childhood and Adolescence: Theory, Research and Intervention Approaches
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Many children and teenagers living with mental health problems experience stigma from within their peer group, yet this remains an under-researched topic in developmental science and the broader mental health literature. This paper highlights the limitations of adopting measures, concepts and theories that have exclusively emanated from the adult mental health literature. We argue that the social context of children and adolescents is critical in understanding the development and maintenance of stigma towards those with mental health problems, alongside the changing developmental needs and abilities of children and adolescents. In this article we argue that a theory proposed to explain the development of stereotypes and prejudice in childhood has potential as a framework for integrating existing research findings on mental health stigma in childhood and adolescence and providing direction for further research. The need for interventions that are grounded within the developmental science literature and that explicitly state their theory of change are identified as key research priorities for reducing stigma during childhood and adolescence.
KeywordsStigma Children Adolescence Mental health disorders Developmental Inter-Group Theory
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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