The stigmatisation of mental health difficulties by adolescents, and its association with religious affiliation

Prof Doc Thesis

Teper, Nikki 2005. The stigmatisation of mental health difficulties by adolescents, and its association with religious affiliation. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsTeper, Nikki
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Prior literature suggests that stigmatised views towards individuals with mental health
difficulties are prevalent amongst British adults, and that such views lead to negative
consequences at a personal and social level, as well as affecting access to
psychological help. Furthermore, young adults and adolescents have been found to
hold higher levels of stigmatised views than other participants. However, despite
many anti-stigma campaigns directed towards secondary schools, few studies have
explored the stigmatised views held by adolescents. Additionally, because religious
doctrines teach values of empathy and kindness, the current study explored the views
of adolescents who affiliated themselves with religion, towards individuals with
mental health difficulties.
A total of 217 adolescents participated from four schools in South-East England:
Muslim, Church of England, Jewish and Roman Catholic. Inclusion criteria required
that schools were faith-based and of comparable socio-economic status. Schools were
approached for participation with a letter and follow-up telephone-call, and opt-in/optout
letters were offered. Participants were given a questionnaire that took
approximately ten minutes to complete. Questionnaires included seven vignettes, each
describing one of the following mental health difficulties: depression, anxiety,
schizophrenia, dementia, eating disorders, substance misuse and obsessivecompulsive
disorder (OCD). Seven questions were repeated for each vignette, and
related to a different theme of stigmatisation. Results
Quantitative methods were used to analyse the data. Results of factor analysis and
cronbach's alpha indicated that although participants did not distinguish between their
stigmatisation of the different mental health difficulties, there were three specific
types of stigmatisation: social restrictiveness and authoritarianism, prognosis, and
benevolence. The highest levels of negative ratings were towards schizophrenia and
substance misuse, and the lowest were towards OCD and depression. The low
negative ratings for benevolence suggested that participants considered the mental
health difficulties to be taken seriously.
Discussion and Implications
Results have implications for clinical practice, and suggest that systemic approaches
may be useful when working with adolescents from faith-based backgrounds. They
also suggest that anti-stigma campaigns need to do more than dispensing information,
and that views of service-users and their families would be useful. Finally, a reflexive
critical review is offered, as well as recommendations for further research.

Publication dates
Print03 Aug 2005
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Jul 2014
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