How clinical diagnosis might exacerbate the stigma of mental illness

  • Corrigan P
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Stigma can greatly exacerbate the experience of mental illness. Diagnostic classification frequently used by clinical social workers may intensify this stigma by enhancing the public's sense of "groupness" and "differentness" when perceiving people with mental illness. The homogeneity assumed by stereotypes may lead mental health professionals and the public to view individuals in terms of their diagnostic labels. The stability of stereotypes may exacerbate notions that people with mental illness do not recover. Several strategies may diminish the unintended effects of diagnosis. Dimensional approaches to diagnosis may not augment stigma in the same manner as classification. Moreover, regular interaction with people with mental illness and focusing on recovery may diminish the stigmatizing effects of diagnosis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Humans Mental Disorders/*diagnosis *Prejudice Unit

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  • P W Corrigan

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