Measuring the stigma of psychiatry and psychiatrists: development of a questionnaire
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The stigma of mental illness is a severe burden for people suffering from mental illness both in private and public life, also affecting their relatives, their close social network, and the mental health care system in terms of disciplines, providers, and institutions. Interventions against the stigma of mental illness employ complementary strategies (e.g., protest, education, and contact) and address different target groups (e.g., school children and teachers, journalists, stakeholders). Within this framework, the World Psychiatric Association has adopted an Action Plan with the goal to improve the image of psychiatry and to reduce potential stigmatizing attitudes toward psychiatry and psychiatrists. To evaluate such interventions, a questionnaire has been developed that assesses opinions and attitudes toward psychiatrists and psychiatry in different samples of medical specialists (psychiatrists and general practitioners). The questionnaire comprises scales about perceived stigma in terms of the perception of societal stereotypes, self-stigma in terms of stereotype agreement, perceived stigma in terms of structural discriminations, discrimination experiences, stigma outcomes, and attitudes toward a second medical discipline. It is available in several languages (Arab, English, German, Japanese, Polish, and Spanish) and can easily be adapted for utilization in other medical specialties.
KeywordsDiscrimination Self-stigma Discrimination Career choice Young psychiatrists Attitudes
Project group on Stigma of Psychiatry and Psychiatrists: Wolfgang Gaebel (principal investigator), Heather Stuart (co-principal investigator), Julio Arboleda-Flórez (co-investigator), Norman Sartorius (consultant). WPA Task Force on Stigma of Psychiatry and Psychiatrists: Tsuyoshi Akiyama, Japan; Anja E. Baumann, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Denmark; Wolfgang Gaebel, Germany; Oye Gureje, Nigeria; Miguel Roberto Jorge, Brazil; Marianne Kastrup, Denmark; Norman Sartorius (Chair), Switzerland; Heather Stuart, Canada; Yuriko Suzuki, Japan; Allan Tasman, USA.
Collaborating centers: Belarus: Dzmytry Krupchanka, Ekaterina Padalko; Brazil: Miguel Jorge, Thiago M. Fidalgo; Chile: Veronica Larach; Denmark: Marianne Kastrup; Egypt: Tarek A. Okasha; Germany: Wolfgang Gaebel; Helen-Rose Cleveland; Kathrin Samjeske; Japan: Tsuyoshi Akiyama, Yuriko Suzuki; Kenya: David M. Ndetei; New Zealand: Graham Mellsop, Lyndy Matthews; Nigeria: Oye Gureje, Lola Kola; Poland: Marek Jarema, Magdalena Tyszkowska; USA: Allan Tasman, Joyce Spurgeoun.
The authors would like to thank Kathrin Samjeske for study coordination and Marie Ilic for her contribution to the questionnaire development. The authors would also like to thank the psychiatrists at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Düsseldorf who participated in the qualitative survey.
The study was funded by a grant of the World Psychiatric Association and an additional grant of the Stiftung Seelische Gesundheit [German Mental Health Foundation].
Conflict of interest
W. Gaebel is member of the Scientific Advisory Board (Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation) and received symposium support (Lilly Germany, Janssen Cilag Germany).
M. Kastrup is member of the Board of LINF (Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation).
N. Sartorius participated at scientific symposia and meetings organized by Astra Zeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck, Janssen and Pfizer companies and served as consultant to Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Servier companies. The association which he presides received funds for its work from Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Pfizer.
All further authors (HZ, HRC, HS, JAF, TA, OG, MRJ, YS, AT) declare that they have no conflict of interest. The nature of this project however justifies to say that no author has a conflict of interest in the project. No author received honoraria for work on this paper.
This supplement was not sponsored by outside commercial interests. It was funded by the German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGPPN).
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