Relationship Between Perceived Stigma and Depression Severity

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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between perceived stigma and being in treatment for depression and current depression severity. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of depressed subjects from a Veterans Administration outpatient mental health clinic (N = 54) and never-depressed subjects from a Veterans Administration primary care clinic (N = 50). Depression severity was measured using the 9-item Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders depression measure. Stigma was measured using the 5-item Stigma Scale for Receiving Psychological Help modified for depression treatment. Statistical analyses included Spearman correlation and multivariate regression.In the correlation analysis, being in treatment for depression compared with never experiencing depression was associated with significantly higher levels of perceived stigma (p < .001). In separate multivariate models controlling for significant univariate correlates, greater depression severity (p < .001) and meeting criteria for current major depression (p < .001) were significant predictors of perceived stigma. Greater depression severity appears to be a strong predictor of perceived stigma.

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