Shifting Identity and the Cognitive Assimilation of Labels: Family Perceptions of Stigma and Mental Illness

By Carla Reis Abreu-Ellis and Jason Brent Ellis.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 15, 2016 $US5.00

This paper provides concrete examples, through qualitative data, of how Corrigan’s Theoretical Framework permeates, specifically how caregivers identified psychiatric symptoms, social-skills deficits, physical appearance, and labels while caring for their loved ones with mental illnesses. Participants in the study were four mothers of individuals with diagnosed mental illnesses and focused a critical lens on their plight of understanding mental illness, stigma, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. They participated in a 30–90-minute face-to-face interview. This paper provides insight into the lived experiences of family members of individuals with mental illness and their struggles with shifting identity and may serve as a tool to practitioners when building partnerships with families.

Keywords: Family, Identity, Mental Illness

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.19-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 15, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 524.541KB)).

Dr. Carla Reis Abreu-Ellis

Associate Professor, Department of Inclusive Services and Exceptional Learners, Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, USA

Dr. Jason Brent Ellis

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Foundations and Instruction, Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, USA