Association of perceived stigma and mood and anxiety disorders: results from the World Mental Health Surveys

OBJECTIVE: We assessed the prevalence of perceived stigma among persons with mental disorders and chronic physical conditions in an international study. METHOD: Perceived stigma (reporting health-related embarrassment and discrimination) was assessed among adults reporting significant disability. Mental disorders were assessed with Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) 3.0. Chronic conditions were ascertained by self-report. Household-residing adults (80,737) participated in 17 population surveys in 16 countries. RESULTS: Perceived stigma was present in 13.5% (22.1% in developing and 11.7% in developed countries). Suffering from a depressive or an anxiety disorder (vs. no mental disorder) was associated with about a twofold increase in the likelihood of stigma, while comorbid depression and anxiety was even more strongly associated (OR 3.4, 95%CI 2.7-4.2). Chronic physical conditions showed a much lower association. CONCLUSION: Perceived stigma is frequent and strongly associated with mental disorders worldwide. Efforts to alleviate stigma among individuals with comorbid depression and anxiety are needed.