Perceptions of suicide stigma: How do social networks and treatment providers compare?

Laura M. Frey, Jason D. Hans, Julie Cerel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background: Previous research has failed to examine perceptions of stigma experienced by individuals with a history of suicidal behavior, and few studies have examined how stigma is experienced based on whether it was perceived from treatment providers or social network members. Aims: This study examined stigma experienced by individuals with previous suicidal behavior from both treatment providers and individuals in one's social and family networks. Method: Individuals (n = 156) with a lifetime history of suicidal behavior were recruited through the American Association of Suicidology listserv. Results: Respondents reported the highest rates of perceived stigma with a close family member (57.1%) and emergency department personnel (56.6%). Results indicated that individuals with previous suicidal behavior were more likely to experience stigma from non-mental health providers and social network members than from mental health providers. A hierarchical regression model including both source and type of stigma accounted for more variance (R2 = 14) in depression symptomology than a model (R2 = 06) with only type of stigma. Prevalence of stigma perceived from social network members was the best predictor of depression symptom severity. Conclusion: These findings highlight the need for future research on how social network members react to suicide disclosure and potential interventions for improving interactions following disclosure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Hogrefe Publishing.


  • Attempt survivor
  • Family reaction
  • Lived experiences
  • Stigma
  • Suicide
  • Suicide disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptions of suicide stigma: How do social networks and treatment providers compare?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this