Subtle ways of stigmatization among professionals: The subjective experience of consumers and their family members

Doron Amsalem, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Doron Gothelf, David Roe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Subtle expressions of stigmata or microaggressions consist of insensitive and demeaning remarks or statements which negate an individual's perception of their reality. They are differentiated from more traditional and overt forms of discrimination in that they are often voiced by well-intentioned individuals who are unaware of the negative underpinnings and potentially harmful effects of their comments. This study aimed to explore the subjective experience of stigma and macroaggression among consumers and their family members during their encounters with mental health care providers. Method: Sixteen individuals who were recently diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and 15 of their family members were interviewed. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using grounded theory. Results: Three major forms of subtle stigma expressions or microaggressions were identified: that lived experience is not relevant, people diagnosed with a psychosis have no hope for recovery, and sharing and discussing professional knowledge is not necessary. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Encounters with mental health care providers include subtle conveyance of stigmatizing messages that are well recognized as a barrier to recovery. Psychoeducational interventions for staff that emphasize the importance of lived experience and sharing professional knowledge are recommended, as well as further studying the subtle ways of stigmatization among staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Psychological Association.


  • Delivery of difficult news
  • Microaggressions
  • Schizophrenia
  • Shared decision making
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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