The role of stigma in the quality of life of older adults with severe mental illness.
Stigma and discrimination against older people with mental illness is a seriously neglected problem.
(1) To investigate whether stigmatisation of older adults with mental disorder is associated with the type of residential institution they live in or the type of disorder they suffer and (2) to assess the role of stigma experiences in their quality of life.
A cross-sectional study was carried out of 131 older adults with severe mental illness, recruited in 18 elder care homes operating supported living programmes and in eight psychiatric hospitals throughout the Netherlands. Stigmatisation was assessed with an 11-item questionnaire on stigma experiences associated with mental illness. Quality of life was assessed with the Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA). To better ascertain the role of stigma, we also assessed in comparison the relationship of social participation to quality of life.
Some 57% of the respondents had experienced stigmatisation. No association emerged between residential type or disorder type and the extent of stigma experiences. Stigmatisation did show a negative association with quality of life, a connection stronger than that between social participation and quality of life.
A feeling of belonging, as contrasted with being excluded, is at least as important for the quality of life of older people with severe mental illness as their actual participation in the community.
Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction (Trimbos Institute), Utrecht, the Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org
SourceInternational journal of geriatric psychiatry 20:2 2005 Feb pg 146-53
Homes for the Aged
Quality of Life
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't