As habitual self-stigma can have a tremendous negative impact on people with mental illness, it is of paramount importance to identify its risk factors. The present study aims to examine the potential contributory role of attentional bias in habitual self-stigma. People with mental illness having strong (n = 47) and weak (n = 47) habitual self-stigma completed a computerized emotional Stroop task which included stigma-related, positive, and non-affective words as stimuli. The strong habit group was found to exhibit faster color-naming of stigma-related words (compared to non-affective words), whereas the weak habit group showed no difference in the speed of response to different stimuli. These findings suggest that people with stronger habitual self-stigma may be more able to ignore the semantic meaning of stigma-related words and focus on the color-naming task. Moreover, people with stronger habitual self-stigma may have greater attentional avoidance of stigma-related material. The present study is the first to demonstrate a specific relationship between habitual self-stigma and biased processing of stigma-related information. In order to further determine the role and the nature of attentional bias in habitual self-stigma, future research should employ a broader range of experimental paradigms and measurement techniques to examine stigma-related attentional bias in people with mental illness. Copyright © 2015 Chan, Mak.
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2015|