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Self-stigma, self-esteem and age in persons with schizophrenia

  • Perla Werner (a1), Alex Aviv (a2) (a3) and Yoram Barak (a4) (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2008

Background: The relationship between self-stigma and self-esteem in patients with schizophrenia is receiving increased attention. However, studies to date have been limited to samples of persons under the age of 65.

Aim: To examine the relationship between self-stigma and self-esteem in people with schizophrenia in both younger and older age groups.

Methods: Face-to-face interviews were completed with 86 inpatients with schizophrenia in a psychiatric hospital (mean age = 54, 55% female). Self-esteem was assessed using Rosenberg's Self Esteem Scale. Self-stigma was assessed using an adapted version of the Internalized Stigma of Mental Health (ISMI) scale. Information regarding socio-demographic characteristics and psychiatric history and symptomatology was collected.

Results: Self-stigma was moderate with only 20–33% of the participants reporting high levels of stigmatization. Older participants reported lower levels of self-stigma than younger participants. A relatively strong association between self-stigma and self-esteem was found.

Conclusions: The findings point to the complexity of the association between self-stigma, self-esteem and age in people with schizophrenia. This study stresses the importance of clinicians taking the issue of self-stigma into consideration when treating young and old patients with schizophrenia.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Perla Werner, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel. Phone: +972-4-8249565; Fax: +972-4-8240573. Email:
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