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Cultural Model of Self-Stigma among Individuals with Mental Illness

[Speaker] Chan, Kevin K. S.:1
[Co-author] Mak, Winnie W. S.:2
1:Department of Psychological Studies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education (Hong Kong), 2:Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)

Pursuit of personal recovery among individuals with mental illness is often sabotaged by the internalization of public-stigma and the development of self-stigma. Despite the potential importance of cultural factors in understanding the internalization process of public-stigma, no study has investigated how individualism/collectivism may affect self-stigma and, in turn, recovery. We addressed this research gap by testing a cultural model of self-stigma, wherein individualism/collectivism is considered to affect recovery through self-stigma. In this study, individuals with mental illness were recruited in Hong Kong (n=85) and the United States (n=136) to complete a set of questionnaires. We found that self-stigma was related negatively to horizontal-collectivism (r=-.24; p=.03) and positively to vertical-individualism (r=.24; p=.005) among the HK and US participants, respectively. Moreover, self-stigma was negatively associated with recovery in both the HK (r=-.43; p<.001) and US samples (r=-.16; p=.05). Taken together, these findings provide preliminary empirical support for our cultural model of self-stigma.
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