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Predictors of experiences of discrimination and positive treatment in people with mental health problems: findings from an Australian national survey

  • Nicola J. Reavley
  • Amy J. Morgan
  • Anthony F. Jorm
Original Paper
  • 413 Downloads

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the study was to assess the factors predicting experiences of avoidance, discrimination and positive treatment in people with mental health problems.

Methods

In 2014, telephone interviews were carried out with 5220 Australians aged 18+, 1381 of whom reported a mental health problem or scored highly on a symptom screening questionnaire. Questions covered experiences of avoidance, discrimination and positive treatment by friends, spouse, other family, workplace, educational institution and others in the community; as well as disclosure of mental health problems. Avoidance, discrimination and positive treatment scores were calculated by counting the number of domains in which each occurred. Predictors of avoidance, discrimination and positive treatment were modelled with negative binomial regression analyses.

Results

After adjusting for the effects of other predictors in multivariate analyses, symptom severity and a diagnosis of ‘any other disorder’ (most commonly psychotic disorders or eating disorders) predicted experiences of both avoidance and discrimination but not positive treatment. Disclosing a mental health problem in more settings was also associated with higher rates of avoidance and discrimination, but also with positive treatment.

Conclusions

Disclosure of mental health problems to others may increases experiences of discrimination, but may also increase experiences of positive treatment. These findings can help to inform decision making by people with mental health problems about disclosure, particularly in the case of more severe or low-prevalence disorders.

Keywords

Mental disorders Discrimination Stigma Positive treatment Disclosure 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Funding

The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global HealthThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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