This research explores the experiences of mental illness stigma in 24 youth (58.3% male, 13-24 years, 75% Latino) in psychiatric outpatient treatment. Using Link and Phelan's (2001) model of stigmatization, we conducted thematic analysis of the interview texts, examining experiences of stigma at individual and structural levels, in addition to the youths' social-psychological processes. Youth in psychiatric treatment acknowledged that their larger cultural context holds pejorative viewpoints toward those with mental illness and reported experiences of stigma within their families and social networks. Our results also offer insight into the social-psychological processes of stigma, highlighting how labeling may influence their self-concept and the strategies in which youth engage to manage a stigmatized identity. We discuss differences in stigma experiences by gender, age, and diagnosis. Findings provide new information on the stigma experiences of youth in psychiatric treatment and suggest that a multilevel approach to reduce stigma is warranted.
- mental illness
- psychiatric disorders
- young adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science