Stigma of mental illness and cultural factors in Pacific Rim region: a systematic review


Background: Although cultural factors play a crucial role in experience of stigma, there is scant review on the impact and importance of culture on stigma of mental illness across Pacific Rim Region. This study aims to investigate: 1) the cultural factors related to stigmatizing beliefs about mental illness in Pacific Rim region, and 2) culture-specific measures and interventions on stigma of mental illness.

Methods: A systematic search of papers was conducted in the MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Scopus, Cochrane Library and Google scholar through January 2003 to April 2019.

Results: Forty-one studies in Pacific Rim region which met the inclusion criteria were included in the study. The rate of stigma of mental illness (e.g., public stigma: from 25.4 to 85.2%) was relatively high in Pacific Rim region. Culture factors (e.g., Collectivism, Confucianism, face concern and familism, religion and supernatural beliefs) contributed to people’s stigmatizing behaviors and attitudes toward persons with mental illness, their relatives and mental health professionals. Certain measurements were developed and employed to assess different type of cultural factors related to stigma of mental illness.

Conclusions: Cultural factors play an important role in influencing the rate and performance of stigma of mental illness. Further research on stigma of mental illness and culture-specific interventions to reduce the stigma should be conducted in the Pacific Rim region.

Keywords: Mental illness, Stigma, Culture factors, PacificRim region, Intervention, Measurements