Home > Illness-related stigma, mood and adjustment to illness in persons with hepatitis C.

Conroy, Ronán Michael and Golden, Janet and O'Dwyer, Anne Marie and Golden, Daniel and Hardouin, Jean-Benoit (2006) Illness-related stigma, mood and adjustment to illness in persons with hepatitis C. Social Science & Medicine, 63, (12), pp. 3188-3198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.08.005.

We examined stigma in persons with hepatitis C and its relationship with mood and adjustment to illness. We studied 87 persons awaiting interferon treatment for hepatitis C at St James's Hospital, Dublin. Stigma was assessed using Fife's Experience of Illness scale. A structured clinical interview was used to establish DSM-IV diagnosis. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were also used as measures of mood.

Factor analysis and clustering around latent variables analysis were used to assess scale structure and reliability. The stigma scale had an overall reliability of 0.94. A strong dimension of fear of disclosure emerged, from item analysis, together with dimensions of social isolation and social rejection. Stigma was higher in those in manual occupations and the unemployed than in those in non-manual occupation. There were high levels in those with disease associated with injecting drug use and iatrogenic disease caused by transfusion or anti-D blood products, and low levels in those who had been treated for haemophilia with contaminated products or whose hepatitis was of unknown origin.

Adjusted for confounders, a 1-decile increase in stigma score had an odds ratio of 1.4 for DSM-IV depression and similar associations with depression on the HADS and BDI. Stigma was also associated with poorer work and social adjustment, lower acceptance of illness, higher subjective levels of symptoms and greater subjective impairment of memory and concentration. These associations were replicated in the non-depressed subsample. The results underline the strong link between stigma and well-being in hepatitis C. However, they also suggest that stigma is a complex construct that will require further research to elucidate.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
December 2006
Identification #
Page Range
pp. 3188-3198
Elsevier Science
Accession Number
HRB 4271 (Available)
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