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Labeling Mental Illness: The Effects of Received Services and Perceived Stigma on Life Satisfaction

Sarah Rosenfield
American Sociological Review
Vol. 62, No. 4 (Aug., 1997), pp. 660-672
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2657432
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Labeling Mental Illness: The Effects of Received Services and Perceived Stigma on Life Satisfaction
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Abstract

Labeling theory proponents and the theory's critics have different views of stigma and thus differ on the consequences of labeling for people with mental illness. The labeling perspective posits that because of stigma, official labeling through treatment contact has negative consequences for mental patients. In contrast, critics of labeling theory claim that stigma is relatively inconsequential. Instead, they argue that because labeling results in receiving needed services, it provides significant benefits for mental patients. Thus far, no study has tested the relative positive and negative effects of labeling. I examine these views by comparing the importance of perceived stigma versus the receipt of services for the quality of life of persons with chronic mental illness. Results show that both stigma and services received are significantly associated with quality of life, but in opposite ways. These findings have important implications for interventions for mental illness.

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