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Adolescents with personality disorders suffer from severe psychiatric stigma: evidence from a sample of 131 patients

Authors Catthoor K, Feenstra D, Hutsebaut J, Schrijvers D, Sabbe B

Received 3 November 2014

Accepted for publication 1 March 2015

Published 4 May 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 81—89


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven Youngentob

Kirsten Catthoor,1,3 Dine J Feenstra,2 Joost Hutsebaut,2 Didier Schrijvers,3 Bernard Sabbe3

1Department of Psychiatry, Psychiatrisch Ziekenhuis Stuivenberg, ZNA Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium; 2Viersprong Institute for Studies on Personality Disorders, Halsteren, the Netherlands; 3Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium

Background: The aim of the study is to assess the severity of psychiatric stigma in a sample of personality disordered adolescents in order to evaluate whether differences in stigma can be found in adolescents with different types and severity of personality disorders (PDs). Not only adults but children and adolescents with mental health problems suffer from psychiatric stigma. In contrast to the abundance of research in adult psychiatric samples, stigma in children and adolescents has hardly been investigated. Personality disordered adolescents with fragile identities and self-esteem might be especially prone to feeling stigmatized, an experience which might further shape their identity throughout this critical developmental phase.
Materials and methods: One hundred thirty-one adolescent patients underwent a standard assessment with Axis I and Axis II diagnostic interviews and two stigma instruments, Stigma Consciousness Questionnaire (SCQ) and Perceived Devaluation–Discrimination Questionnaire (PDDQ). Independent sample t-tests were used to investigate differences in the mean SCQ and PDDQ total scores for patients with and without a PD. Multiple regression main effect analyses were conducted to explore the impact of the different PDs on level of stigma, as well as comorbid Axis I disorders. Age and sex were also entered in the regression models.
Results and conclusions: Adolescents with severe mental health problems experience a burden of stigma. Personality disordered patients experience more stigma than adolescents with other severe psychiatric Axis I disorders. Borderline PD is the strongest predictor of experiences of stigma. More severely personality disordered adolescents tend to experience the highest level of stigma.

Keywords: labeling, burden of disease, mental health professionals

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