Stigma by association and family burden among family members of people with mental illness: the mediating role of coping

Remko L M van der Sanden, John B Pryor, Sarah E Stutterheim, Gerjo Kok, Arjan E R Bos

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Abstract

PURPOSE: When someone has a mental illness, family members may share the experience of stigma. Past research has established that family members' experiences of stigma by association predict psychological distress and lower quality-of-life.

METHODS: The present study, conducted with 503 family members of people with mental illness examined the prevalence of 14 different coping strategies. Of greater importance, we examined the role of these coping strategies as mediators of the relationships between stigma by association and family burden, on the one hand, and outcomes, such as psychological distress and quality-of-life, on the other.

RESULTS: The results showed that both perceived stigma by association and family burden are associated with greater psychological distress and lower quality-of-life, and that most coping strategies mediate these relationships.

CONCLUSIONS: Adaptive coping strategies were related to reduced negative outcomes, while most maladaptive coping strategies were related to enhanced negative outcomes. Implications for intervention development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1233–1245
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume51
Issue number9
Early online date29 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Stigma by association
  • Family burden
  • Psychological distress
  • Quality-of-life
  • Coping
  • Mental illness
  • QUALITY-OF-LIFE
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS
  • STRATEGIES
  • WORKPLACE
  • RELATIVES
  • BEHAVIOR
  • COMPANY
  • MODELS

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