Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-31

Perceived stigmatization and discrimination of people with mental illness: A survey-based study of the general population in five metropolitan cities in India

1 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charite University Hospital, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany
2 AKT Neuropsychiatric Centre, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany
4 Center for Public Mental Health, Untere 12 Zeile 13, A-3482 Go-sing am Wagram, Austria

Correspondence Address:
Kerem Boge
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12203 Berlin
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_406_17

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Background: India faces a significant gap between the prevalence of mental illness among the population and the availability and effectiveness of mental health care in providing adequate treatment. This discrepancy results in structural stigma toward mental illness which in turn is one of the main reasons for a persistence of the treatment gap, whereas societal factors such as religion, education, and family structures play critical roles. This survey-based study investigates perceived stigma toward mental illness in five metropolitan cities in India and explores the roles of relevant sociodemographic factors. Materials and Methods: Samples were collected in five metropolitan cities in India including Chennai (n = 166), Kolkata (n = 158), Hyderabad (n = 139), Lucknow (n = 183), and Mumbai (n = 278). Stratified quota sampling was used to match the general population concerning age, gender, and religion. Further, sociodemographic variables such as educational attainment and strength of religious beliefs were included in the statistical analysis. Results: Participants displayed overall high levels of perceived stigma. Multiple linear regression analysis found a significant effect of gender (P < 0.01), with female participants showing higher levels of perceived stigma compared to male counterparts. Conclusion: Gender differences in cultural and societal roles and expectations could account for higher levels of perceived stigma among female participants. A higher level of perceived stigma among female participants is attributed to cultural norms and female roles within a family or broader social system. This study underlines that while India as a country in transition, societal and gender rules still impact perceived stigma and discrimination of people with mental illness.



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