An investigation of stigma in individuals receiving treatment for substance abuse
AuthorLuoma, Jason B.
Twohig, Michael P.
Hayes, Steven C.
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This study examined the impact of stigma on patients in substance abuse treatment. Patients (N= 197) from fifteen residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment facilities completed a survey focused on their experiences with stigma as well as other measures of drug use and functioning. Participants reported experiencing fairly high levels of enacted, perceived, and self-stigma. Data supported the idea that the current treatment system may actually stigmatize people in recovery in that people with more prior episodes of treatment reported a greater frequency of stigma-related rejection, even after controlling for current functioning and demographic variables. Intravenous drug users, compared to non-IV users, reported more perceived stigma as well as more often using secrecy as a method of coping. Those who were involved with the legal system reported less stigma than those without legal troubles. Higher levels of secrecy coping were associated with a number of indicators of poor functioning as well as recent employment problems. Finally, the patterns of findings supported the idea that perceived stigma, enacted stigma, and self-stigma are conceptually distinct dimensions. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.