To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
One in ten children and adolescents experience mental health difficulties at any given time, yet only one third of those suffering access treatment. Untreated mental illness predisposes to longstanding individual difficulties, and presents a great public health burden. Large scale initiatives to reduce stigmatization of mental illness in children and adolescents, identified as a key deterrent to treatment, have had limited success, and research is scarce.
To gain a better understanding of the stigma experienced by children and adolescents with mental health difficulties.
We conducted a systematic review of the literature examining stigma and self-stigma towards children and adolescents with mental health difficulties, in order to better understand the extent and type of discrimination directed towards this particularly vulnerable group.
Following PRISMA guidelines, the databases Pubmed, PsychINFO and Cochrane were searched for original research published between 1980 and 2014, assessing public stigma (i.e. the reaction of the general public) and self-stigma (i.e. internalized public stigma) towards children and adolescents with mental health difficulties.
Thirty-seven studies were identified, confirming that stigmatization towards children and young people suffering mental health difficulties is a universal and disabling problem. There was some variation by diagnosis and gender, and stigmatization was for the most part unaffected by labelling. Self-stigmatization led to more secrecy and avoidance of interventions.
The findings confirm that stigmatization of mental illness is poorly understood due to a lack of evidence and methodological discrepancies. Implications of the findings are discussed, and suggestions made for future research.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Research on the impact of stigma associated with mental illness in children is scarce. Considering the known negative effects of stigma associated with mental illness in adults, it is crucial to explore the stigma experienced by children who access mental health treatment. However, no scale measuring self-stigmatization in younger children is available to date. This study aimed to develop and validate such a scale, the Paediatric Self-Stigmatization Scale (PaedS).
A total of 156 children (119 receiving outpatient and 37 receiving inpatient treatment), aged 8–12 years, completed the PaedS, the Self-Perception Profile for Children and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL – Child Report, ages 8–12). In addition, parents completed the PedsQL (Parent Report for Children, ages 8–12), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and a modified subscale of the PaedS measuring the children's rejection by others due to their mental health difficulties.
A confirmatory factor analysis showed that a four-factor structure, comprising Societal Devaluation, Personal Rejection, Self-Stigma and Secrecy scales, had excellent fit to the data (CFI = 0.95; TLI = 0.95; RMSEA = 0.05). Child-reported PaedS scores were positively correlated with parental-reported PaedS scores and negatively with PedsQL, the SDQ, and 5 out of 6 subscales of the Self-Perception Profile for Children, suggesting adequate convergent validity (all P-values < 0.05).
The PaedS is a valid instrument, which is hoped to advance the understanding of self-stigmatization in children with mental health difficulties and contribute to its prevention.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.