University of Twente Student Theses


Personal narratives of mental illness stigmatization: A thematic analysis

Wenglorz, Lara (2021) Personal narratives of mental illness stigmatization: A thematic analysis.

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Abstract:This paper investigates real life experiences of mental illness stigmatization and self-stigmatization from the perspective of affected individuals, referred to as the insider perspective. Widely spread stigmas from outside are well researched. However, understanding outside stigmas from the insider perspective and how it affects self-stigmatization and feelings of people with a mental illness adds deeper insights into stigmatization research. Ten narratives about personal experiences with mental illness stigmatization from German mental health podcasts were examined. Selection aimed at creating a varied sample, resulting in a balance of gender and wide spectrum of illnesses (e.g., depression, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, substance dependence), however a young age group (18-38 years), with the majority of podcast host having own mental illness experiences. A thematic analysis, based on the distinction between outside stigmas and self-stigmatization (Corrigan & Watson, 2002b) was conducted. Deductively, outside stigmas including need of help, personal responsibility and weakness were identified. Inductively, themes including a generalization of people with a mental illness, treating mental illnesses as a taboo subject, and reducing them on the illness, were added. Participants self-stigmatized as being incompetent, not good enough or refused their diagnosis. Feelings of being alone, wrong, different, or not taken seriously were identified. These were mostly related to being reduced on their illness, the perceived need of help, a lack of understanding and knowledge from outside and issue of taboo. Altogether, people with a mental illness perceived stigmatization as more subtle than expected from research with a great problem lying in self-stigmatization. Limitations include restricted generalizability to other countries and age groups. Future research should dig deeper into identified stigmatization experiences and feelings by conducting narrative interviews.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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