BACKGROUND: Self-stigmatizing women who avoid seeking treatment for depression could believe that they have pragmatic personal reasons for their decision. As a preliminary step towards testing this hypothesis, the aim of this study was to assess diverse, low-income working women for shared self-stigmatizing beliefs about depression. METHODS: Depression and depression self-stigma were assessed in a targeted sample of African American, Caucasian and Latina women who qualify for public health services and have access to health care services. RESULTS: Depression and self-stigmatizing beliefs about depression were positively correlated (r = .30-.64). Over one third of the women in the study (37.5%) said they would do what they could to keep their depression secret. Over half (55%) indicated that the person they normally would disclose depression to is their best friend. A majority (80%) of the women in the study said they would choose not to disclose personal depression to a health care professional. Pairwise t tests for group differences showed that Caucasian women, women recently seen by a health care professional and women with more years of education had higher self-stigma scores. CONCLUSION: Self-stigmatizing women who feel depressed could knowingly decide to keep their depression secret with the hope of avoiding loss.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/janette_taylor/18/