Salud Mental

Stigma towards people with mental disorders: perceptions of devaluation and discrimination in a sample of Chilean workers


María Teresa Solis-Soto
María Soledad Burrone
Gabriel Reginatto
Jaime C. Sapag
Rubén Alvarado


Introduction. Mental disorders represent one of the main causes of disease burden in the adult population. Negative public attitudes and behaviors toward people with mental disorders negatively affect the treatment, recovery, and social inclusion of those affected. Chile laks surveys on workers that address this issue.

Objective. To describe the perceptions of devaluation and discrimination towards people with mental disorders in a sample of Chilean workers.

Method. A cross-sectional study was carried out with 1 516 workers in the formal sector of four regions of Chile (Metropolitan Region [RM], Bío Bio [VIII], Valparaíso [V] and Coquimbo [IV]). The perception of discrimination and devaluation was explored through a modified version of the The perceived Devaluation-Discrimination Scale (PDD) comprising 15 questions. The relationship of each question with sociodemographic variables (age, sex, years of study, and region) and type of economic activity was assessed.

Results. The study found a high percentage of perceptions of devaluation and discrimination in most aspects considered, particularly those related to hiring a person who has been hospitalized due to a mental illness (85%), feeling sorry for people with severe mental illnesses (80%), and the unwillingness to marry a person with a mental illness (78%). Significant differences were observed in the opinions by sociodemographic variables and region of residence.

Discussion and conclusion. The perception of Chilean workers has high levels of stigma towards people living with mental disorders. It is necessary and urgent to develop effective anti-stigma public policies to promote a more inclusive, tolerant society.
Estigma social, trastornos mentales, trabajadores, Chile


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