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The Self–Stigma of Mental Illness: Implications for Self–Esteem and Self–Efficacy

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Self–stigma is distinguished from perceived stigma (stereotype awareness) and presented as a three-level model: stereotype agreement, self–concurrence, and self–esteem decrement. The relationships between elements of this model and self–esteem, self–efficacy, and depression are examined in this study. In Study 1, 54 people with psychiatric disabilities completed a draft version of the Self–Stigma of Mental Illness Scale (SSMIS) to determine internal consistency and test–retest reliability of composite scales. In Study 2, 60 people with psychiatric disabilities completed the revised SSMIS plus instruments that represent self–esteem, self–efficacy, and depression. Stereotype awareness was found to not be significantly associated with the three levels of self–stigma. The remaining three levels were significantly intercorrelated. Self–concurrence and self–esteem decrement were significantly associated with measures of self–esteem and self–efficacy. These associations remained significant after partialing out concurrent depression. Implications for better understanding self–stigma are discussed.