Peer support for internalised stigma experienced by people with psychosis: rationale and recommendations

Melissa Pyle, Stephen Pilling, Karen Machin, Ginny Allende-Cullen, Anthony P. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with experience of psychosis face stigma and discrimination, which can be a significant barrier to recovery. Internalisation of public stereotypes and prejudice into an individual’s self-identity is an understandable consequence of such discrimination. However, internalised stigma represents a significant barrier to recovery, resulting in a number of harmful consequences such as depression, demoralisation and loss of self-esteem. Interventions to support people with experience of psychosis who internalise stigma have demonstrated some promising results, but a recent meta-analysis did not find an overall significant effect. The current evidence base includes very few trials of peer support for internalised stigma; however, data from several trials and a recent meta-analysis show that peer support produces benefits on a number of dimensions related to internalised stigma, including empowerment, recovery and hope. In this paper, we argue that peer support is a suitable intervention for addressing internalised stigma and warrants further research. We provide a theoretical and evidence-based rationale for this argument and outlines some of the key challenges and possible solutions for future trials of peer support as an intervention for internalised stigma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • internalised stigma
  • peer support
  • Psychosis
  • social support
  • stigma


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