For People with Psychiatric Disabilities, Neighborhood Factors May Affect Acceptance and Community Involvement

People with psychiatric disabilities have conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression. These individuals may encounter stigmatizing attitudes or behaviors from people around them. Forms of such stigma may be overt, such as denying a job to a candidate with a psychiatric disability, or they may be less obvious, like moving away from a person with a psychiatric disability on a bus. These forms of stigma may discourage people with psychiatric disabilities from getting out and doing things in their communities. Past research has found that people with psychiatric disabilities may encounter forms of stigma more often if they live in lower income neighborhoods or among people with more conservative political beliefs. In a recent NIDILRR-funded study, researchers looked at the connections between neighborhood factors, forms of stigma, and community participation of people with psychiatric disabilities. The researchers wanted to find out whether stigma against people with psychiatric disabilities was more common in some types of neighborhoods than others. They also wanted to find out whether people with psychiatric disabilities who felt they encountered more frequent stigma were more or less involved in their communities than people who encountered less frequent stigma, and if this frequency depended at all on the type of housing where the individuals lived.