Prevalence, Characteristics and Socio-Demographic Correlates of Self-Stigma among Leprosy Affected Persons - A Case Study
This study has determined the prevalence of self-stigma, its characteristics in terms of alienation, stereotype endorsement, perceived discrimination and social withdrawal and stigma resistance among leprosy-affected persons and its relationship and extent of this relationship with various socio-demographic features. This has been done by carrying out a cross-sectional survey of 120 active people affected by leprosy during 2020-21. An internationally validated and standardised instrument (ISMI) was used to measure self-stigma. Statistical techniques such as independent t-test, Pearson’s and point biserial correlation and regression analysis were used for data analysis. The study found significant correlations between ISMI self-stigma scores and socio-demographic variables with moderate to minor deviation across the four components of the ISMI scale. The high to low correlation of various components of the ISMI scale found is discrimination experience, followed by stigma resistance, stereotype endorsement and alienation. Overall, the highest self-stigma was found in disabled people affected by leprosy, followed by those whose age was less than 40 years, followed by unemployed and male people affected by leprosy. It was concluded that alienation was maximum among people affected by leprosy who were either disabled, aged less than 40 years or were males. Discrimination experience was reported mainly by unemployed, disabled, males and younger people affected by leprosy. The findings indicate that proper methodology and components of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may help reduce self-stigma among leprosy-affected persons.