Indiana Psychological Association News

Stigmatizing Attitudes toward Mental Illness among Racial/Ethnic Older Adults in Primary Care

 

Stigmatizing Attitudes toward Mental Illness among Racial/Ethnic Older Adults in Primary Care
 

Over the next two decades, there is an expected increase in the number of seniors requiring mental health treatment. This is concerning, as there is a lack of research regarding various factors related to stigma, mental health beliefs, and comfort with providers among racial and ethnic minority older adults. Researchers have found that stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs are essential to identify as they impact treatment outcomes, behaviors, preliminary assessment, and rapport with providers.
 
Through multivariate analysis of 2198 elderly participants, a study by Jimenez and colleagues (2013) found that Latinos, Asian-Americans, and African-Americans exhibited greater rates of depression than their White counterparts. In addition, African-Americans were more likely to be diagnosed with comorbid conditions, Latinos and Asian-Americans were more likely to express embarrassment and shame regarding mental illness, and Asian-Americans were more likely to have difficulty seeking mental health treatment. 
 
Overall, the authors suggest that there is a “triple stigma” associated with being of old age, being an ethnic minority, and having a mental health condition.  This stigma tends to impact rapport, health-seeking behaviors, level of shame, and overall wellbeing with healthcare providers. In order to counter this stigma, one of the most effective interventions is psychoeducation geared at validating and normalizing mental health concerns and targeting misconceptions and cultural beliefs which may promote these maladaptive attitudes.
 
Reference:
Jimenez, D. E., Bartels, S. J., Cardenas, V., & Alegria, M. (2013). Stigmatizing attitudes toward mental illness among racial/ethnic older adults in primary care. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28, 1061-68.
 
To learn more, visit:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235383155_Stigmatizing_Attitudes_towards_Mental_Illness_among_RacialEthnic_Older_Adults_in_Primary_Care

Contributors:
Shervin Tehranirad, M.A., M.P.H., & Carolyn Certilman, M.A.
Doctoral Interns in Clinical Psychology
St. Vincent Neuroscience Institute – St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital
 
Elizabeth N. Andresen, Ph.D., HSPP
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Diversity Coordinator, Doctoral Internship Program
St. Vincent Neuroscience Institute – St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital


"PsychBytes” is a weekly educational resource from the Indiana Psychological Association (IPA) provided for psychologists, their colleagues and their patients.