Experienced discrimination among people with mental illness in a population-based sample of Canadians reporting a disability
Authors: Aliya Kassam, Jeanne V. A. Williams, and Scott B. Patten
Objective: The prevalence of perceived discrimination among people reporting an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition in a population of people with a disability has not been studied. Our study evaluated a model that integrated having an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition while accounting for age, sex, education, employment, marital status, immigration status, and type of community to estimate the prevalence of perceived discrimination in the population of people with a disability. We hypothesized that higher levels of perceived discrimination would occur in people reporting an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition. Method: The Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) by Statistics Canada is a postcensual survey of community residents reporting health-related impairments. PALS was used to evaluate the interaction between self-reported emotional, psychological, or psychiatric conditions and demographic variables and the odds of experiencing discrimination. Results: In the overall sample, 14.5% perceived discrimination and 18.2% reported having an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition. Thirty-five per cent of people with such conditions perceived discrimination. When adjusting for covariates, people reporting an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition were 3 times more likely to perceive having been discriminated against than people without such conditions. Across medical conditions, perceived discrimination was higher in people who also reported an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that perceived discrimination and the presence of an emotional, psychological, or psychiatric condition frequently co-occur in people with a disability and therefore programs aimed at reducing the discrimination of emotional, psychological, or psychiatric conditions should take this into account.
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