Can interventions reduce stigma? World Psy. 2014.

23.10.2014

Stigma towards mental disorder is recognised as a public health problem. Various programmes have been rolled out to combat stigma. Corrigan et al in their  2012 meta analysis reported that contact and educational interventions are effective in reducing personal stigma. i.e. an individual’s own attitude towards people with a mental illness. This analysis did not cover areas like self stigma and perceived stigma (individual’s beliefs about the attitudes of others to mental illness) . Clement et al‘s meta analysis (2013) looked at mass media interventions  and concluded that such interventions have a small to moderate effect.

Griffiths et al’s present meta analysis looked at various forms of stigma for various disorders. 34 controlled  studies were included in their final analysis.

Results

Most common intervention was education. Consumer contact was the next common one. Various modes of delivery ( online, group, leaflet, video etc) were tested.

Personal stigma:  The pooled mean effect size across all conditions and interventions was small .There was also evidence that interventions incorporating a consumer contact component were effective.  Internet and non computer models had similar effects. This effect was regardless of the particular disorder studied. CBT did not show benefits.

Perceived stigma:  The interventions did not significantly reduce perceived stigma.

Internalised stigma:  The pooled mean effect size across the three studies included was not statistically significant

Conclusions: Current stigma interventions are effective in reducing personal stigma. educational and contact interventions are effective. Contact alone may not ne effective. Effects sizes are small. There are no effective interventions ( published) for perceived stigma. It is possible that public may be overestimating the stigma in others i.e. in community. Perceived stigma is a barrier to access service and hence is important to have effective interventions to reduce that. Internalised stigma is not much studied. Internet is an effective medium and this opens up many possibilities.

Summary of the article: 

Effectiveness of programs for reducing the stigma associated with mental disorders. A meta-analysis of randomizedcontrolled trials.

Griffiths KM, Carron-Arthur B, Parsons A, Reid R. World Psychiatry. 2014 Jun;13(2):161-75.

One thought on “Can interventions reduce stigma? World Psy. 2014.

  1. I am practicing Psychiatry from 1979 onwards, as a student and later on as a specialist in this field.
    No noticeable changes in the Stigma attached to Psychiatry[whichever way you classify], was not observable in Kerala, India one of the most literate state. After going through several articles related to the progress in the field, I am wondering why nobody is thinking of changing the term Psychiatry to some thing like, “Behavioural Neurology” and let the so called Psychiatrist be known as a “Behavioural Neurologist” .Personally I feel changes like this is the only way to alleviate the stigma, that is in existence since the beginning of Psychiatry and the term Mental Illness. Now everybody accepts the fact that it is purely the disease process in the Brain, influenced by lot of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
    May the younger generation have the wisdom to make changes in the most wanted field of medicine at the earliest so as to save billions of people refusing to see an expert because of the stigma.

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