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(2008)INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY.54(3).p.206-218 Mark abstract Background: Persons with mental health problems often experience stigmatization, which can have detrimental consequences for their objective and subjective quality of life. Previous research seeking for elements buffering this negative association focused on coping strategies and revealed that none of the most often used strategies is successful.Aims: This article studies whether peer support among clients can moderate this negative link, and to what extent. Following the buffering hypothesis on stress and social support, it was expected that the association between stigmatization and self-esteem would be less among persons experiencing greater peer support.Methods: This research problem was studied by means of ordinary least squares regression analysis using quantitative data from structured questionnaires completed by 595 clients of rehabilitation centres.Results and Conclusions: The results confirm that stigmatization is negatively related to self-esteem, while peer support is positively linked with it. Furthermore, they show that peer support moderates the negative association between stigmatization and self-esteem, but not in the expected way. These findings suggest that peer support can only have positive outcomes among clients with few stigma experiences, and that stigmatization itself could impede the formation and beneficial consequences of constructive peer relationships among persons receiving professional mental healthcare.

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Autor: Mieke Verhaeghe , Piet Bracke and K BRUYNOOGHE



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