International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Self-stigma, self-esteem and age in persons with schizophrenia

Perla Wernera1 c1, Alex Aviva2a4 and Yoram Baraka3a4

a1 Department of Gerontology, University of Haifa, Israel

a2 Acute Adult Psychiatric Department, Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Bat Yam, Israel

a3 Psychogeriatric Department, Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Bat Yam, Israel

a4 Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

ABSTRACT

Background: The relationship between self-stigma and self-esteem in patients with schizophrenia is receiving increased attention. However, studies to date have been limited to samples of persons under the age of 65.

Aim: To examine the relationship between self-stigma and self-esteem in people with schizophrenia in both younger and older age groups.

Methods: Face-to-face interviews were completed with 86 inpatients with schizophrenia in a psychiatric hospital (mean age = 54, 55% female). Self-esteem was assessed using Rosenberg's Self Esteem Scale. Self-stigma was assessed using an adapted version of the Internalized Stigma of Mental Health (ISMI) scale. Information regarding socio-demographic characteristics and psychiatric history and symptomatology was collected.

Results: Self-stigma was moderate with only 20–33% of the participants reporting high levels of stigmatization. Older participants reported lower levels of self-stigma than younger participants. A relatively strong association between self-stigma and self-esteem was found.

Conclusions: The findings point to the complexity of the association between self-stigma, self-esteem and age in people with schizophrenia. This study stresses the importance of clinicians taking the issue of self-stigma into consideration when treating young and old patients with schizophrenia.

(Received October 03 2006)

(Online publication December 18 2006)

(Revised February 05 2007)

(Accepted February 08 2007)

(Online publication April 23 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Perla Werner, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel. Phone: +972-4-8249565; Fax: +972-4-8240573. Email: werner@research.haifa.ac.il.

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