Stigma associated with mental illness and its treatment in the Arab culture: A systematic review
Background: Mental health has not had the same public profile as physical health. This has contributed to the stigma associated with mental illness and to its treatments. Research investigating how the traditions and values amongst those with an Arab heritage contribute to stigmatizing beliefs, attitudes or actions in the provision of mental healthcare has not been widely reported. Aim: To systematically review the literature and summarize the findings of studies reporting stigmatizing beliefs, actions and attitudes toward treatment of people with mental illness in the Arab population. Methods: PubMed, Ovid, Psycharticles and Embase were used to identify original studies of non-institutionalized Arab adults or children reporting findings relevant to stigma toward mental illness. A manual search of the bibliography of all selected original studies was also undertaken. Independent data extraction was performed by two reviewers, who then met to compare data and reach consensus. Findings were classified as stigmatizing beliefs, actions or attitudes toward mental health treatments. Results: A total of 33 articles were retrieved for full review. Those utilizing qualitative methodology provided insight into the many ways mental illness is viewed and defined among those with an Arab heritage. Among the studies using quantitative methodology, most compared stigmatizing beliefs, attitudes toward mental health treatments or stigmatizing actions among different Arab populations, some also investigated correlations between characteristics of the Arab population tested with stigmatizing beliefs, actions and attitudes toward mental health treatments. Findings from studies undertaken in Qatar reported greater stigmatizing beliefs, actions or attitudes toward mental health treatments among Qatari versus non-Qatari Arabs. Conclusion: A large diversity in the stigmatizing beliefs, actions and attitudes toward treatment of mental illness within the Arab population were identified. The influence of cultural variations on stigma should be explored further and used to tailor anti-stigma interventions in this population.
- Pharmacy Research [331 items ]