Perceived Discrimination and Stigma in People living with Diabetes in Switzerland
Despite the prevailing perception that diabetes mellitus is no stigmatized condition, there is now growing scientific evidence of stigma. However, there have been no comprehensive, in-depth studies of stigma on people living with diabetes. Against this background, the present research study aimed to establish whether people living with diabetes in Switzerland experience stigma and discrimination, and if so, in what context and to what extent. Further, the study aimed to establish whether and how experienced and perceived stigma impact the quality of life of those affected.
The sample included 3,347 people with type 1 and 2 diabetes, aged 16-96, living in diverse living conditions in the German- and French-speaking areas of Switzerland. 68.5% of the respondents reported experiences of discrimination and exclusion due to diabetes in different situations in the contexts of leisure time and in their relations with friends and acquaintances, education and employment, service in the army, and in rela-tion to mobility issues, taxation, and private insurances. 84.4% also reported perceptions of stereotyping insinuating their inferiority to others as a result of their health condition.
Respondents who reported higher levels of perceived stigma reported higher levels of psychological distress (β = 0.37), more pronounced depressive symptoms (β = 0.33), and less social support (β = -0.22). Higher psychological distress (β = -0.29) and more pronounced depressive symptoms (β = -0.28), in turn, predict-ed lower quality of life. Findings suggest that stigma should be considered as an additional predictor of quali-ty of life in PWD. Therefore, health care providers should support PWD’s fight against stigma. Especially, social workers are called to engage in advocacy to reduce discrimination against PWD and claim equal chances for them. They are also called to develop and implement interventions to correct stereotypes about PWD.
To generate data on the frequency and distribution of stigma experiences, we used an anonymous paper-and-pencil self-administered questionnaire (SAQ). The SAQ drew on a qualitative elicitation study. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics as well as multivariate procedures and structural equation modelling. The SAQ was distributed to the readers of a Swiss Journal destined to people living with diabetes in order to generate a large and diverse convenience sample.
|Ethical approval||No||Study type||
|Start - End date||01.01.2011 - 30.06.2014|