Labelling effects and adolescent responses to peers with depression: an experimental investigation

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Title: Labelling effects and adolescent responses to peers with depression: an experimental investigation
Authors: Dolphin, Louise
Hennessy, Eilis
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9106
Date: 24-Jun-2017
Abstract: Background: The impact of illness labels on the stigma experiences of individuals with mental health problems is a matter of ongoing debate. Some argue that labels have a negative influence on judgments and should be avoided in favour of information emphasising the existence of a continuum of mental health/illness. Others believe that behavioral symptoms are more powerful influencers of stigma than labels. The phenomenon has received little attention in adolescent research, despite the critical importance of the peer group at this developmental stage. This study employs a novel experimental design to examine the impact of the depression label and continuum information on adolescents' responses to peers with depression. Methods: Participants were 156 adolescents, 76 male, 80 female (M = 16.25 years; SD = .361), assigned to one of three conditions (Control, Label, Continuum). Participants respond to four audio-visual vignette characters (two clinically depressed) on three occasions. Outcome measures included judgment of the mental health of the vignette characters and emotional responses to them. Results: Neither the provision of a depression label or continuum information influenced perceptions of the mental health of the characters in the audio-visual vignettes or participants' emotional responses to them. Conclusion: The findings have implications for the design of interventions to combat depression stigma with adolescents. Interventions should not necessarily target perceptions of psychiatric labels, but rather perceptions of symptomatic behaviour.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Copyright (published version): 2017 the Authors
Keywords: Labelling;Stigma;Gender;Peers;Depression
DOI: 10.1186/s12888-017-1389-9
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Psychology Research Collection

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