The way that the social stigma of mental illness is related with the self-stigma, which in turn affects self-esteem and self-efficacy of mental patients was investigated. A sample of 66 patients in the Adult Psychiatric Clinic of the Thessaloniki General Hospital "G. Papanikolaou” was participated in this descriptive association study, with cross-sectional comparisons. The sample comprised of patients who were hospitalized or visited the Clinic as out-patients during the period that the study was undertaken. A tool for measuring the basic demographic, social and clinical characteristics of the participants was designed and used. Additionally, the Self-Stigma of Mental Illness Scale, SSMIS, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, RSE and the General Self-Efficacy Sherer Scale, GSESH were used for measuring self-stigma, self-esteem and self-efficacy respectively. Results showed that self-esteem and self-efficacy were highly associated with each another. Self-esteem and self-efficacy co varied. Greater self-stigma was associated with lower self-esteem and selfefficacy confirming the power of this relationship which is connected with patients’ psychological empowerment and acts as mediator between patients’ self-categorization as “mentally ill” and their self-esteem and self-efficacy. Additionally, a mild negative association between self-esteem, self-efficacy and age was found while higher educational level was associated with greater selfefficacy. Greater self-stigma along with lower educational level were the most significant predictors of both self-esteem and self-efficacy of mental patients, as shown by regression analysis. Some of our results, such as the percentage of low self-esteem (30.3%), were different from previous relevant data (9.1–24%), probably due to differences in sample’s cultural characteristics and composition, research tools used, and the degree of mentally ill patients’ reaction to social stigma perception. Despite its methodological limitations, the present study showed that self-stigma contributes to low self-efficacy and self-esteem of the mentally ill. It is thus a fair objective on the one hand to reduce stigmatization for the benefit of patients, and secondly, to raise public awareness in order to minimize the overall stigmatization towards mental illness, which is the primary cause of self-stigma.
Key words: Stigma, mental illness, mental patient, social stigma, self-stigma, self-efficacy, self-esteem, social inclusion.
E. Pasmatzi, G. Koulierakis, G. Giaglis (page 243) - Full article (Greek)