Influence of character strengths on mental health stigma

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Influence of character strengths on mental health stigma

We examined traits of open-mindedness kindness hope and social intelligence in the context of mental health stigma. Stigma – a process that objectifies and dehumanizes a person who has mental illness – diminishes people’s ability to control their behavior as coping with stigma requires self-regulation. Exploring mental health stigma through the lens of character strengths allows for understanding individual differences and kinds of characteristics that help decrease the ramifications associated with stigma of mental health. Several tasks explored the effects of character strengths on implicit and explicit mental health stigma: implicit association task measures of willingness to interact with those with a mental health disorder and a social distance task of self friend and person with a disorder. Character strengths of social intelligence and kindness were indicative of less stigma of mental health. More open-minded individuals tended to not hold individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder personally responsible for acquiring that disorder.

The Journal of Positive Psychology , 2014 Vol. 9, No. 3, 266 – 275

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