On the Stigma of Mental Illness: Implications for Research and Social Change

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"Written by participants and first-rate social scientists in the Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research, On the Stigma of Mental Illness: Practical Strategies for Research and Social Change explores the causes and ramifications of mental illness stigma and possible means to eliminate it. The book translates basic behavioral research, especially from social psychology, to an issue of prime importance to clinical psychology." At the core of many problems facing people with mental illness is public reaction to their disabilities (e.g., landlords may not rent to and employers may not hire someone with a serious mental illness). The authors explore the causes of such stigmatizing attitudes, including media images and a culture that does not respect people with mental illness. Living within such a culture often leads to self-stigmatization as well. Although laws such as the Americans With Disabilities Act have decreased the impact of discrimination, contact between those with mental illness and those without may be one of the most effective ways to diminish stigma. This book includes practical strategies for dealing with public stigma and self-stigma including deciding when and how to disclose one's psychiatric history to others.
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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Nicholas Greco IV, MS, BCETS, CATSM (Columbia College of Missouri)
Description: This is a cutting edge book that tackles the ever-present, ever-powerful stigma which permeates mental illness. The book delves into a myriad of topics such as the doctor/patient relationship, the legal system, family and friend networks, society at large, stigma of oneself, and much, much more.
Purpose: The purpose is to expose the stigma of mental illness for what it truly is — prejudice against a group of individuals who are different than the "norm." The authors seek to educate readers and promote the eradication of the barriers stigma produces. The authors take a highly empirical approach in discussing the stigma of mental illness, the impact on the mentally ill, theoretical models of stigma, and strategies for stigma change. The editor is well known by reputation, is a prolific writer and a dedicated clinician and researcher.
Audience: The audience is quite diverse and includes, but is not limited to, clinical psychologists, rehabilitation psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and all others interested in changing the hurtful stigma. Ideal for graduate school classes as well as opening up the minds of those enrolled in undergraduate courses such as psychopathology/abnormal psychology and social psychology. The editor and authors are from various well-known and well-respected institutions such as the University of Chicago, UIC, Loyola, and Columbia College. A number of them make up the Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research.
Features: The book is comprehensive in nature and transcends the commonplace complaints about stigma and actually provides empirical support and methods for change. There are powerful messages throughout the book, but none more powerful than how the authors empower the reader to think beyond classroom learning, clinical training, clinical practice. The most riveting chapter is the first-person accounts of stigma which really gets not only at the heart of the matter but presents a totally different point of view. Challenging the media conception of mental illness and encouraging more positive views of mental illness are highlighted in Chapter 13. The book examines the legal side in Chapter 9 with stigma and the police. This is a timely and essential chapter as so many of the mentally ill interact with those who are undertrained, unaware, and lack the compassion so vital in maintaining one's own positive view of self.
Assessment: This book is truly a gem and a beacon of light for those working to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. It is truly worthy of being considered one of the finest books in the field and equally deserving of a place on every clinician's shelf.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591471899
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

I Overview of the problem 9
Ch. 1 The impact of mental illness stigma 11
Ch. 2 Methods for studying stigma and mental illness 45
II Understanding mental illness stigma 67
Ch. 3 First-person accounts of stigma 69
Ch. 4 Social psychological models of mental illness stigma 99
Ch. 5 Sociological models of mental illness stigma : progress and prospects 129
Ch. 6 A social-cognitive model of personal responses to stigma 145
Ch. 7 Mental illness and dangerousness : fact or misperception, and implications for stigma 165
Ch. 8 Senseless crimes : sin or sickness? : implications for mental illness stigma 181
Ch. 9 Stigma and the police 197
Ch. 10 Stigma and substance use disorders 219
III Changing mental illness stigma 237
Ch. 11 Strategies for assessing and diminishing self-stigma 239
Ch. 12 Dealing with stigma through personal disclosure 257
Ch. 13 Challenging public stigma : a targeted approach 281
Ch. 14 Changing stigma through the media 297
IV Conclusion 313
Ch. 15 Mental illness stigma as social injustice : yet another dream to be achieved 315
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