Parents' stigmatizing attitudes toward psychiatric labels for ADHD and depression

Jeneva Ohan, Troy Visser, R.G. Moss, N.B. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is concern that diagnostic labels for psychiatric disorders may invoke damaging stigma, especially for children. This study compared parents' stigma toward children with the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression versus the same symptoms plus a psychiatric label. Methods: Parents (N5 225) rated their stereotypes, prejudice, and social distance toward vignettes of children with a developmentally typical range of behaviors, symptoms that met DSM-IV-TR criteria for ADHD or depression, and the same symptoms plus a label of ADHD or depression. Results: Children described as having symptoms only were more stigmatized than children with typical behaviors (d5.97-2.69). Adding a diagnostic label resulted in significant but small increases in stigma (d5.12-.23). Conclusions: Parents highly stigmatized children with psychiatric problems, but adding a diagnostic label made only a small contribution to worsening the stigma. The benefits of seeking psychiatric services-accessing treatment and providing validation-may outweigh fears of labeling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1270-1273
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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