The stigma of having a parent with mental illness: Genetic attributions and associative stigma

Jessica Koschade, Robert Lynd-Stevenson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    Children often report associative stigma because they are 'contaminated' by association with a parent who has a mental illness. An exploratory study was conducted to investigate the role of genetic attributions in the aetiology of associative stigma. The first hypothesis was that genetic attributions would predict associative stigma over and above the contribution of biochemical and stressful-event attributions, while the second hypothesis was that the relationship between genetic attributions and associative stigma would be mediated by the perceived likelihood that children would develop the same disorder as their parents. Two-hundred-and-two individuals were asked to read a hypothetical scenario describing a teenage girl whose mother had been diagnosed with either schizophrenia or depression. Both hypotheses were supported. The findings of the study have implications for a number of professions working in the community such as teachers and psychologists. Additional avenues for future research are also explored.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-99
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


    • Associative stigma
    • Genetic attributions
    • Psychological disorders
    • Social issues
    • Social psychology
    • Stigma of mental illness


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