Perceived Stigma Towards Psychiatric Illnesses in Mental Health Trainees: A Cross-Sectional Study


Psychiatric disorders have always been seen as character disturbances and hence have always bore higher stigma than many other physical illnesses. In most of the cases the stigma is seen as negative stereotype arising out of poor awareness about the condition. In that case the stigma should reduce with the increase in the awareness about the condition. The current study focused upon exploring the stigma towards psychiatric disorders in the mental health trainees. A sample of 50 students of various mental health care training programs; clinical psychology, psychiatry, psychiatric social work and psychiatric nursing, were evaluated for their perceived stigma of psychiatric disorders using three versions of a tool developed to compare self-stigma, family-stigma, and social-stigma. Our results show that participants experienced significantly different levels of stigma for these levels (F (1.65, 81.26) = 56.64, p < 0.0001, ηp2 = 0.536), with highest level of stigma perceived in relation to self (M = 42.8, SE = 1.53) which was significantly more than both family (M = 30.78, SE = 1.19) and society (M = 29.76, SE = 1.24) conditions. The findings were same irrespective of the specialization i.e. clinical psychology, psychiatry etc. within mental health training programs. Further analysis about the group comparison among the mental health trainees suggested that psychiatric nursing group perceived significantly higher level of overall stigma than any other group of specialization. The findings indicate that better understanding of psychiatric condition alone might not eliminate the stigma attached to it.

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Fig. 1

Data Sharing Statement

Deidentified individual participant data will not be made available.


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Correspondence to K. Arivazhagan.

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Arivazhagan, K., Sharma, S., Dubey, I. et al. Perceived Stigma Towards Psychiatric Illnesses in Mental Health Trainees: A Cross-Sectional Study. J. Psychosoc. Rehabil. Ment. Health (2020).

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  • Stigma
  • Mental health trainees
  • Psychiatric disorders