Effects of Affirming Values on Self-Compassion and Mental Health Treatment Stigma.


Student Authors:

Jill Glazer '18, Gettysburg College

Tommi Olseson '20, Gettysburg College

Cindy Campoverde '20, Gettysburg College

Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1



Stigma surrounding mental disorders deters many people from treatment, and prior studies have shown that internalization of stigma is inversely correlated with self-compassion. We examined the effect of a values-affirmation task shown to increase state self-compassion on attitudes about mental disorders and their treatment. Participants completed measures of their mental health attitudes and experiences prior to a values-affirming writing task or control writing task, and afterward completed measures of state self-compassion, attitudes about mental disorders, and treatment. Participants in the values-affirming condition showed significantly higher state self-compassion and lower levels of desired social distance and internalized stigma toward people with mental disorders, relative to the control condition. Significant interactions also showed that affirmation of values was effective in decreasing internalized treatment stigma and increasing willingness to seek help among those high in perceived public stigma and among those with positive attitudes about treatment. These findings suggest that interventions that focus on affirming values increase self-compassion, reduce stigma surrounding mental disorders, and also reduce stigma about mental health treatment among individuals for whom perceived public stigma is a treatment barrier. Our study extends previous research showing that affirming values increase self-compassionate and pro-social responses, to show that it can help reduce stigmatizing views of mental disorders and their treatment, in both the self and others.



Required Publisher's Statement

The final article is available at: https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/sah0000307

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