The link between anticipated and internalized stigma and depression: A systematic review


Stigmatized groups may experience psychological distress. Yet, some studies show no significant relation between stigma and mental health outcomes. This systematic review investigates the link between anticipated and internalized stigma, and one mental health outcome, depression. We aimed to (1) determine whether anticipated and internalized stigma predict levels of depression, and (2) review the quality of evidence for this link. We searched PsycInfo, PubMed and EMBASE databases. Eighty-three studies (N = 34,705) met our inclusion criteria, across five stigma categories: Sexual and gender minorities; HIV/AIDS; Illness or disability-related (non-HIV); Weight, and Other. We reviewed evidence within each category and study design and developed a narrative synthesis. Sixty studies (72.3%) supported the proposed link, which varied across categories from 53.6% to 100%. Using the NIH quality assessment tool, most studies were of fair quality. Most cross-sectional studies (76.7%) straightforwardly supported the positive relation between internalized and/or anticipated stigma and depression, while only 40% of longitudinal studies did. Implications for the study of stigma and mental health outcomes are discussed.


O'Donnell AT, Foran AM




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population


Abstract/Full paper

Email 1 selected articles

Email 1 selected articles

Error! The email wasn't sent. Please try again.

Your email has been sent!