Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Bipolar Patients' Caregivers Can Feel Self-Stigma

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Bipolar Patients' Caregivers Can Feel Self-Stigma

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The caregivers of patients with bipolar illness suffer self-stigma by proxy, Stephanie L. Jaros reported in a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

Self-stigma results when individuals believe various stereotypes about mental illness, and in mentally ill patients it decreases self-esteem and treatment adherence. No previous research has been conducted on self-stigma by proxy, which is believed to be caused by association with mentally ill patients, said Ms. Jaros, research coordinator for the bipolar disorders clinic at Stanford (Calif.) University.

According to the researchers at Stanford and Yale University, New Haven, where the study was jointly conducted, self-stigma does exist in caregivers of bipolar patients, and that it is correlated with important psychosocial measures.

For the Family Experience Study, 109 caregivers of bipolar patients were interviewed and assessed with a battery of psychosocial measures, including 12 items assessing self-stigma, the Perceived Criticism Scale, and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. The group was 56% female and 86% white, with a mean age of 46.5 years. The relationship to the patient was spouse or partner for 58% of subjects, parent for 22%, sibling for 7%, child for 7%, and other for 6%.

Caregivers of female patients and caregivers who did not live with patients endorsed self-stigma items more strongly than did caregivers of male patients. …

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