Stigma From Family Hurts Recovery from Schizophrenia

There is no question that family members can have a significant impact on many people's lives, including shaping their road to recovery after developing a mental illness. A new study shows that negative attitudes and stigmatizing views of mental illness held by family members impedes the recovery of their mentally ill relatives. As lead research Fred Markowitz of Northern Illinois University says, "In short, what mom thinks matters."

The study looked at 129 mothers of adult children with schizophrenia over a period of 18 months. They found that mothers who viewed their son or daughter in stigmatized terms like "incompetent," "unpredictable," and "unreliable," had children who were more likely to view themselves in a similar light. This type of of negative self-view in the schizophrenic offspring was associated with an increase in symptoms and decrease in self-confidence and quality of life.

The researchers conducting the study acknowledge that the stigmatizing and negative comments and attitudes seen in some family members are not intended to harm--in fact, many family members have good intentions and are simply themselves trying to cope. However, this study is a good reminder not only that the way a person is viewed can often affect how they view themselves, but that this self-view is critically important to recovery in people with a mental illness.

Read more: http://www.niutoday.info/2011/06/07/niu-study-shows-attitudes-of-family-...

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