Quality of Life and Stigma

  • A. Tsutsumi
  • T. Izutsu


 Stigma is a historical and social phenomenon that has influenced a variety of aspects of human life. Particular diseases, such as  leprosy, human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV and AIDS), and  epilepsy among others, are typical examples of diseases affected by stigma. A variety of reports have shown strong and significant rates of stigma against people with these diseases by the general population and even by their families and health workers in different societies. Resulting deterioration in the mental health, such as depression, anxiety and somatic symptoms, of these people has also been reported. Pioneering studies have revealed that quality of life (QOL) is most significantly lowered by the presence of  perceived stigma, which represents the internal belief of affected people that they are being stigmatized, rather than the actual stigmatic beliefs and behaviors rendered by others. Previous efforts of international communities such as  United Nations (UN) systems, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders have mainly been aimed at decreasing the prevalence and incidence of such diseases. However, it is imperative to pay sufficient attention to the QOL and stigmatization of people with these diseases in terms of their human rights, dignity, and physical, mental and social well-being.

Integrating perspectives on stigma and QOL among people who are living with diseases susceptible to stigmatization into existing internationally prioritized development strategies, policies and programs, e.g.,  Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with long-term perspectives is important. Further empirical studies on this issue and implementation and evaluation of the strategies, policies and programs are warranted.


Anorexia Nervosa Sexual Minority Leprosy Patient General Mental Health Affected People 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


Activities of daily living


Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome


Analysis of covariance


Human immunodeficiency virus


Millennium Development Goals


Non governmental organizations


Quality of life


 Self-Reporting Questionnaire


Sexually transmitted infections


United Nations


 World Health Organization


 World Health Organization Quality of Life BREF


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Tsutsumi
    • 1
  • T. Izutsu
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation (IBRI)KobeJapan
  2. 2.Department of Mental HealthGraduate School of Medicine, The University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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