Stigma towards Mental Health Problems during Childhood and Adolescence: Theory, Research and Intervention Approaches
- 2.6k Downloads
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
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
- Chisholm, K. E., Patterson, P., Torgerson, C., Turner, E., & Birchwood, M. (2012). A randomized controlled feasibility trial for an educational school-based mental health intervention: Study protocol. BMC Psychiatry, 12, doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-12-23.
- Clement, S., Schauman, O., Graham, T., Maggioni, F., Evans-Lacko, S., Bezborodovs, N., Morgan, C., Rusch, N., Brown, S. J. L., & Thornicroft, G. (2015). What is the impact of mental health-related stigma on help seeking? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies. Psychological Medicine, 45, 11–27. doi: 10.1017/S0033291714000129.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Corrigan, P. W., & Kosyluk, K. A. (2014). Mental illness stigma: Types, constructs and vehicles for change. In P. Corrigan (Ed.), The stigma of disease and disability: Understanding causes and overcoming injustices (pp. 35–56). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. xi, 319 p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Corrigan, P. W., Morris, S. B., Michaels, P. J., Rafacz, J. D. & Rüsch, N. (2012). Challenging the public stigma of mental illness: A meta-analysis of outcome studies. Psychiatric Services. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201100529.
- Degner, J. & Dalege, J. (2013). The apple does not fall far from the tree, or does it? A meta-analysis of parent–child similarity in intergroup attitudes. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 1270–1304.Google Scholar
- Farrelly, S., Clement, S., Gabbidon, J., Jeffery, D., Dockery, L., & Lassman, F., et al. (2014). Anticipated and experienced discrimination amongst people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder: A cross sectional study. BMC psychiatry, 14(1), 157.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Koller, M., & Stuart, H. (2016). Reducing stigma in high school youth. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 134(Suppl. 446), 63–70.Google Scholar
- Kroger, J. (2007). Identity development: Adolescence through adulthood. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Mukolo, A., Heflinger, C. A., & Wallston, K. A. (2010). The stigma of childhood mental disorders: A conceptual framework. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 92–103.Google Scholar
- Murman, N. M., Buckingham, K. C. E., Fontilea, P., Villanueva, R., Leventhal, B., & Hinshaw, S. P. (2014). Let’s erase the stigma (LETS): A quasi-experimental evaluation of adolescent-led school groups intended to reduce mental illness stigma. Child Youth Care Forum, 43, 621–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Parker, J., Rubin, K., Price, J., & De Rosier, M. (1995). Peer relationships, child development, and adjustment. In D. Cicchetti & D. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Vol 2. Risk, disorder, and adaptation (pp. 96–161). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Reavley, N., & Jorm, A. (2011). Depression stigma in Australian high school students. Youth Studies Australia, 30, 33–40.Google Scholar
- Rubin, K. H., Bukowski, W. M., & Bowker, J. (2015). Children in Peer Groups. In R. M. Lerner, M. H. Bornstein & T. Leventhal(Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science (Vol. 4, pp. 175–222). New Jersey: Wiley. Ecological Settings and Processes.Google Scholar
- Sakellari, E., Leino‐Kilpi, H., & Kalokerinou‐Anagnostopoulou, A. (2011). Educational interventions in secondary education aiming to affect pupils’ attitudes towards mental illness: A review of the literature. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 18, 166–176.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Stuart, H., Arboleda-Florez, J., & Sartiorius, N. (2012). Paradigms Lost: Fighting Stigma and the Lessons Learned. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
- Walker, J. S., Coleman, D., Lee, J., Squire, P. N., & Friesen, B. J. (2008). Children’s stigmatization of childhood depression and ADHD: Magnitude and demographic variation in a national sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47, 912–920.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wei, Y., Hayden, J. A., Kutcher, S., Zygmunt, A., & McGrath, P. (2013). The effectiveness of school mental health literacy programs to address knowledge, attitudes and help seeking among youth. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 7(2), 109–121.Google Scholar
- Yap, M. B. H., Reavley, N., MacKinnon, A. J., & Jorm, A. F. (2013). Psychiatric labels and other influences on young people’s stigmatizing attitudes. Findings from an Australian national survey. Journal of Affective Disorders, 148, 299–309.Google Scholar