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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Predictors of depression stigma

Kathleen M Griffiths1*, Helen Christensen1 and Anthony F Jorm2

Author affiliations

1 Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia

2 ORYGEN Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Locked Bag 10, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Psychiatry 2008, 8:25  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-8-25

Published: 18 April 2008

Abstract

Background

To investigate and compare the predictors of personal and perceived stigma associated with depression.

Method

Three samples were surveyed to investigate the predictors: a national sample of 1,001 Australian adults; a local community sample of 5,572 residents of the Australian Capital Territory and Queanbeyan aged 18 to 50 years; and a psychologically distressed subset (n = 487) of the latter sample. Personal and Perceived Stigma were measured using the two subscales of the Depression Stigma Scale. Potential predictors included demographic variables (age, gender, education, country of birth, remoteness of residence), psychological distress, awareness of Australia's national depression initiative beyondblue, depression literacy and level of exposure to depression. Not all predictors were used for all samples.

Results

Personal stigma was consistently higher among men, those with less education and those born overseas. It was also associated with greater current psychological distress, lower prior contact with depression, not having heard of a national awareness raising initiative, and lower depression literacy. These findings differed from those for perceived stigma except for psychological distress which was associated with both higher personal and higher perceived stigma. Remoteness of residence was not associated with either type of stigma.

Conclusion

The findings highlight the importance of treating the concepts of personal and perceived stigma separately in designing measures of stigma, in interpreting the pattern of findings in studies of the predictors of stigma, and in designing, interpreting the impact of and disseminating interventions for stigma.