Self-stigma among caregivers of people with mental illness: toward caregivers’ empowerment
Authors Girma E, Möller-Leimkühler AM, Dehning S, Mueller N, Tesfaye M, Froeschl G
Received 8 November 2013
Accepted for publication 28 November 2013
Published 15 January 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 37—43
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewer comments 3
Eshetu Girma,1,2 Anne Maria Möller-Leimkühler,2,3 Sandra Dehning,2,3 Norbert Mueller,2,3 Markos Tesfaye,4 Guenter Froeschl2,5
1Department of Health Education and Behavioral Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia; 2CIHLMU Center for International Health, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany; 3Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany; 4Department of Psychiatry, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia; 5Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany
Background: In addition to economic and material burdens, caregivers of people with mental illness are exposed to psychosocial challenges. Self-stigma is among the psychological challenges that can be exacerbated by intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors. Caregivers’ self-stigma can negatively influence the patients' treatment and rehabilitation process. The objective of this study was to measure the level and correlates of self-stigma among caregivers of people with mental illness.
Methods: An interviewer-administered cross-sectional study was conducted in the Jimma University Specialized Hospital Psychiatry Clinic in Ethiopia on a sample of 422 caregivers. Data were collected by trained nurses working in the clinic using a pretested questionnaire. Multivariate linear regression was performed to identify the correlates of self-stigma among caregivers of people with mental illness.
Results: The majority (70.38%) of the caregivers were male. On a scale of 0 to 15, with 0 being low and 15 being high, the average self-stigmatizing attitude score was 4.68 (±4.11). A statistically significant difference in mean self-stigma score was found between urban and rural respondents (t=3.95, P<0.05). Self-stigma of caregivers showed significant positive correlation with perceived signs of mental illness (r=0.18, P<0.001), perceived supernatural explanations of mental illness (r=0.26, P<0.001), and perceived psychosocial and biological explanations of mental illness (r=0.12, P<0.01). The only independent predictor of caregivers' self-stigma was perceived supernatural explanation of mental illness (standardized β=0.22, P<0.001).
Conclusion: The tendency of caregivers to avoid being identified with the patients was observed. Low exposure to mental health information was also reported. Caregivers' self-stigma in this study was significantly correlated with perceived supernatural explanation of mental illness. Since caregivers' self-stigma may negatively influence patients' treatment-seeking, adherence, and rehabilitation processes, programs that enhance coping strategies by strengthening self-esteem and empowerment by health care providers and establish family support groups may be helpful to tackle self-stigma among caregivers of people with mental illness.
Keywords: self-stigma, internalized stigma, caregivers, mental illness
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]