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Stigma and mental disorder: conceptions of illness, public attitudes, personal disclosure, and social policy.

Stigma and mental disorder: conceptions of illness, public attitudes, personal disclosure, and... The end of the last millennium witnessed an unprecedented degree of public awareness regarding mental disorder as well as motivation for policy change. Like Sartorius, we contend that the continued stigmatization of mental illness may well be the central issue facing the field, as nearly all attendant issues (e.g., standards of care, funding for basic and applied research efforts) emanate from professional, societal, and personal attitudes towards persons with aberrant behavior. We discuss empirical and narrative evidence for stigmatization as well as historical trends regarding conceptualizations of mental illness, including the field's increasing focus on genetic and neurobiological causes and determinants of mental disorder. We next define stigma explicitly, noting both the multiple levels (community, societal, familial, individual) through which stigma operates to dehumanize and delegitimize individuals with mental disorders and the impact of stigma across development. Key developmental psychopathology principles are salient in this regard. We express concern over the recent oversimplification of mental illness as "brain disorder," supporting instead transactional models which account for the dynamic interplay of genes, neurobiology, environment, and self across development and which are consistent with both compassion and societal responsibility. Finally, we consider educational and policy-related initiatives regarding the destigmatization of mental disorder. We conclude that attitudes and policy regarding mental disorder reflect, in microcosmic form, two crucial issues for the next century and millennium: (a) tolerance for diversity (vs. pressure for conformity) and (b) intentional direction of our species' evolution, given fast-breaking genetic advances. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Development and psychopathology Pubmed

Stigma and mental disorder: conceptions of illness, public attitudes, personal disclosure, and social policy.

Development and psychopathology , Volume 12 (4): 44 – Apr 26, 2001

Stigma and mental disorder: conceptions of illness, public attitudes, personal disclosure, and social policy.


Abstract

The end of the last millennium witnessed an unprecedented degree of public awareness regarding mental disorder as well as motivation for policy change. Like Sartorius, we contend that the continued stigmatization of mental illness may well be the central issue facing the field, as nearly all attendant issues (e.g., standards of care, funding for basic and applied research efforts) emanate from professional, societal, and personal attitudes towards persons with aberrant behavior. We discuss empirical and narrative evidence for stigmatization as well as historical trends regarding conceptualizations of mental illness, including the field's increasing focus on genetic and neurobiological causes and determinants of mental disorder. We next define stigma explicitly, noting both the multiple levels (community, societal, familial, individual) through which stigma operates to dehumanize and delegitimize individuals with mental disorders and the impact of stigma across development. Key developmental psychopathology principles are salient in this regard. We express concern over the recent oversimplification of mental illness as "brain disorder," supporting instead transactional models which account for the dynamic interplay of genes, neurobiology, environment, and self across development and which are consistent with both compassion and societal responsibility. Finally, we consider educational and policy-related initiatives regarding the destigmatization of mental disorder. We conclude that attitudes and policy regarding mental disorder reflect, in microcosmic form, two crucial issues for the next century and millennium: (a) tolerance for diversity (vs. pressure for conformity) and (b) intentional direction of our species' evolution, given fast-breaking genetic advances.

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ISSN
0954-5794
DOI
10.1017/s0954579400004028
pmid
11202034

Abstract

The end of the last millennium witnessed an unprecedented degree of public awareness regarding mental disorder as well as motivation for policy change. Like Sartorius, we contend that the continued stigmatization of mental illness may well be the central issue facing the field, as nearly all attendant issues (e.g., standards of care, funding for basic and applied research efforts) emanate from professional, societal, and personal attitudes towards persons with aberrant behavior. We discuss empirical and narrative evidence for stigmatization as well as historical trends regarding conceptualizations of mental illness, including the field's increasing focus on genetic and neurobiological causes and determinants of mental disorder. We next define stigma explicitly, noting both the multiple levels (community, societal, familial, individual) through which stigma operates to dehumanize and delegitimize individuals with mental disorders and the impact of stigma across development. Key developmental psychopathology principles are salient in this regard. We express concern over the recent oversimplification of mental illness as "brain disorder," supporting instead transactional models which account for the dynamic interplay of genes, neurobiology, environment, and self across development and which are consistent with both compassion and societal responsibility. Finally, we consider educational and policy-related initiatives regarding the destigmatization of mental disorder. We conclude that attitudes and policy regarding mental disorder reflect, in microcosmic form, two crucial issues for the next century and millennium: (a) tolerance for diversity (vs. pressure for conformity) and (b) intentional direction of our species' evolution, given fast-breaking genetic advances.

Journal

Development and psychopathologyPubmed

Published: Apr 26, 2001

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