Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 270–280 | Cite as

‘Individualism-Collectivism’ as an Explanatory Device for Mental Illness Stigma

Original Paper

Abstract

The aim of this study is investigate whether the cross-cultural value paradigm ‘individualism-collectivism’ is a useful explanatory model for mental illness stigma on a cultural level. Using snowball sampling, a quantitative questionnaire survey of 305 individuals from four UK-based cultural groups (white-English, American, Greek/Greek Cypriot, and Chinese) was carried out. The questionnaire included the ‘Community Attitudes to Mental Illness scale’ and the ‘vertical-horizontal individualism-collectivism scale’. The results revealed that the more stigmatizing a culture’s mental illness attitudes are, the more likely collectivism effectively explains these attitudes. In contrast, the more positive a culture’s mental illness attitudes, the more likely individualism effectively explains attitudes. We conclude that a consideration of the individualism-collectivism paradigm should be included in any future research aiming to provide a holistic understanding of the causes of mental illness stigma, particularly when the cultures stigmatization levels are particularly high or low.

Keywords

Stigma Mental illness Attitudes Individualism Collectivism Culture 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Health ResearchUniversity of BedfordshireBedfordshireUK
  2. 2.Department of Family Care and Mental HealthGreenwich UniversityEltham, LondonUK
  3. 3.Institute of Nursing and MidwiferyMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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