The objective of this study is to assess internalized stigma, perceived public stigma, anticipated discrimination and their associations with demographic, psychiatric and psychosocial characteristics in adult ADHD. Stigmatization was assessed with the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Scale, the Questionnaire on Anticipated Discrimination and the Questionnaire on Public Stereotypes Perceived by Adults with ADHD. The sample comprised n = 104 adults with ADHD, of whom n = 24 (23.3%) reported high internalized stigma, n = 92 (88.5%) anticipated discrimination in daily life and n = 70 (69.3%) perceived public stigma. Internalized stigma and/or anticipated discrimination correlated with ADHD symptoms, psychological distress, self-esteem, functional impairment and quality of life and was associated with ADHD family history and employment status. Most frequently perceived stereotypes were doubts about the validity of ADHD as a mental disorder. Internalized stigma and anticipated discrimination are highly prevalent in adult ADHD and correlate with the burden of disease. ADHD is associated with characteristic public stereotypes, which are distinct from stereotypes related to other mental disorders. Stigmatization should be considered in the clinical management of adult ADHD and evaluated further in future studies.
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Conflict of interest
Esther Sobanski: advisory boards Shire Germany and Medice. All other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study received no funding.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Masuch, T.V., Bea, M., Alm, B. et al. Internalized stigma, anticipated discrimination and perceived public stigma in adults with ADHD. ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord 11, 211–220 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12402-018-0274-9
- Internalized stigma