Depression Stigma Among Adolescents in Ireland

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Abstract

Adolescent depression is widespread, yet very few studies have examined the stigmatizing attitudes adolescents’ hold toward peers with depression. This study employs a theoretically driven definition of stigma, and explores a range of depression stigma predictors (gender, depression label, contact with depression, emotional symptoms, and essentialist beliefs). Participants (426 adolescents aged 14–16 years) responded to a vignette of an adolescent experiencing depression. Results indicate that contact with depression, use of a depression label, and participant emotional symptoms predict lower depression stigma on certain components, but essentialist beliefs and male gender predict higher depression stigma. Responses to male peers with depression and female peers with depression vary. The findings of this study build on our theoretical understanding of why adolescents with depression may face social exclusion and other stigmatizing responses from peers, and should be incorporated into interventional efforts aimed at reducing peer rejection and stigmatization of adolescents with depression.

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