Spontaneous labelling and stigma associated with clinical characteristics of peers 'at-risk' for psychosis

Deidre M. Anglin, Michelle I. Greenspoon, Quenesha Lighty, Cheryl M. Corcoran, Lawrence H. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: The public health benefits of utilizing an 'at-risk for psychosis' designation are tempered by concerns about stigma. It is therefore of interest to examine whether symptoms associated with this designation might spontaneously induce labels associated with a psychotic disorder, other non-psychotic disorders or non-psychiatric labels. This pilot study explored the labels associated with characteristics of 'high risk for psychosis' and the corresponding stigma level. Methods: A vignette describing an identical character, followed by a series of questions about stigmatizing attitudes towards the vignette character, was administered in the present investigation. Results: The results indicated that even though most young people (59%) did not spontaneously label the vignette character with psychotic-like diagnostic labels, the single most frequent label provided was 'paranoid/a'. When such labelling, that is, strongly tied to psychosis, occurred, respondents exhibited stronger stigmatizing attributions of fear compared to those indicating non-psychiatric labels (e.g. 'weird'). Conclusions: These results suggest that the majority of respondents did not endorse diagnostic labels spontaneously, thus signaling that stigma in the majority of cases would not naturalistically be elicited. However, a segment of respondents evidenced stigma simply from behavioural changes manifested by individuals exhibiting signs of psychosis, independent of diagnosis. Implications for reducing any stigma associated with an 'at-risk for psychosis' designation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • At risk for psychosis
  • Labelling
  • Stigma
  • Ultra-high-risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Spontaneous labelling and stigma associated with clinical characteristics of peers 'at-risk' for psychosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this