Patients with schizophrenia have high levels of internalized stigma and loneliness, a new study found. The study population consisted to 200 patients with schizophrenia. Data were collected using “Form of Descriptive Characteristics”, “Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Inventory (ISMI)”, and “UCLA Loneliness Scale”. Researchers found:
- The loneliness level of patients with schizophrenia was 57.20 ±10.38.
- The level of internalized stigma was 79.65 ±13.48.
- There was a statically positive and strong correlation between loneliness and internalized stigma total mean scores of the patients.
Yildirim T, et al. The relationship between internalized stigma and loneliness in patients with schizophrenia. [Published online ahead of print May 15, 2019]. Perspect Psychiatr Care. doi: 10.1111/ppc.12399.
The general population or “society” may share general negative stereotypes or beliefs about people with mental illness, such as schizophrenia. Self-stigma occurs when one is not only aware of the stereotype but also agrees with the stigmatizing attitude and internalizes this concept of the self. This study highlights the corrosive correlates of stigma in that people with higher levels of self-stigma experience more severe loneliness. It is not a stretch to imagine that these 2 entities are bi-directional in that those who feel that they are not worthy of respect and regard may not seek friendship and support. And lonely people have fewer individuals around them to help combat stigma and refute false stereotypes. Study findings also highlight the need to address stigma at multiple levels, including within /across individuals, families and our society more broadly. —Martha Sajatovic, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Neurology; Willard Brown Chair in Neurological Outcomes Research; Director, Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.