Background: There is growing evidence of the negative effects of internalized stigma of mental illness (ISMI) on the quality of life (QL) and self-esteem (SE) of patients with mental disorders. There is still however scant data on the degree to which ISMI influences QL and SE in panic disorder (PD) patients.
Aims: To determine the level of ISMI in PD patents and its influence on the QL and SE. Method: The pilot study sample consisted of 40 PD outpatients, whose average age was 37.88 (SD=9.685) years, with mean illness duration of 6.436 (SD=7.126) years. Assessment instruments included the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life and Beck Depression Inventory II.
Results: Patients with PD showed a moderate level of ISMI (M=31.8, SD=9.685). Patients with higher levels of ISMI had significantly poorer QL (r=-0.672), lower SE (r=-0.434), and higher level of depression (r=0.696). The results also indicated that ISMI has an additional negative impact on SE and QL over depression.
Conclusions: ISMI correlated negatively with QL and SE. In order to improve QL and SE in PD patients, we should increase awareness of the burden of ISMI and focus on it as one of the treatment goals.