Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Mental Health Stigma

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Jan• 24•16

In this day and age, does having a mental illness still carry a stigma?  According to research by Prashant Bharadwaj, Mallesh M. Pai, Agne Suziedelyte, the answer is yes.

Comparing self-reports to administrative data records on diagnosis and prescription drug use, we find that survey respondents under-report mental health conditions 36% of the time when asked about diagnosis and about 20% of the time when asked about prescription drug use. Survey respondents are significantly less likely to under-report other conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. This behavior is consistent with a model in which mental health illnesses are stigmatized and agents have incentives to hide such traits from others.

The authors also find that this stigma may prevent patients with a mentally ill from seeking needed care.

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