Stigma and its associations with medication adherence in major depressive disorder

Authors & affiliation

Jingman Shi, Yan Chen, Yingchen Jiang, Yanzhi Li, Wanxin Wang, Hao Zhao, Lan Guo, Yuhua Liao, Huimin Zhang, Caihong Gao, Roger S. McIntyre, Wei Hong Zhang, Xue Han, Ciyong Lu


This study sought to evaluate internalized stigma (IS) and perceived stigma (PS), in persons (n = 522) living with major depressive disorder (MDD), with a view to analyzing the association of IS and PS with medication adherence in a cohort of participants with MDD in China. Perceived stigma is the awareness of societal negative views and attitudes towards depression, and IS is applying others’ attitudes to oneself, both measured by the Depression Stigma Scale (DSS). Medication adherence was assessed using the Medication Adherence Rating Scale (MARS). We observed that 76.0 % of participants reported IS and 84.5 % reported PS. Factors associated with increased IS included older age, marital status, disease history, and a higher baseline Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Higher education level, family income, and scores on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) were associated with lower levels of IS. Higher education levels, Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) scores, and living with others were also associated with higher PS, while engagement in exercise and higher number of prior episodes were associated with lower PS. IS had a negative association with medication adherence, whereas PS did not significantly associate with adherence. In conclusion, a testable hypothesis is derived from our data that strategies targeting IS amongst persons with MDD may improve overall rates of adherence to antidepressant treatment, a necessary prelude to improving recovery.

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Staff members:

Wei-Hong Zhang

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1-s2.0-S0165178123006145-main.pdf (restricted)

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