Internalized stigma of mental illness in Sweden and Iran—A comparative study


Objectives: Stigma and discrimination because of mental illness is still prevalent even in high-income countries where a lot of emphasis has been given to anti-stigma activities and measures to reduce the marginalization of these persons. One aspect of the stigma issue is the self-stigmatization that persons suffering from mental illness are experiencing. In this study two different societies have been compared as regards internalized stigma of mental illness. Methods: A widely used questionnaire was used by the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness scale (ISMI). One sample of psychiatric patients from Sweden (N = 163) and from Iran (N = 138) is compared. Results: The Swedish sample generally reports lower levels of experienced stigma except for items covering selfblame and feelings of alienation. Conclusions: There are reasons to consider the aspect of self-stigmatization when working with mentally ill persons even in high income countries with well developed mental health services.

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Jacobsson, L. , Ghanean, H. and Törnkvist, B. (2013) Internalized stigma of mental illness in Sweden and Iran—A comparative study. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 370-374. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.34039.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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