Impact of stigma on use of mental health services by elderly Koreans

Jee Eun Park, Seong Jin Cho, Jun Young Lee, Jee Hoon Sohn, Su Jeong Seong, Hye Won Suk, Maeng Je Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study compared the factors associated with the utilization of mental health services across various age cohorts, with a particular focus on the differential influence of the stigma placed on mental illness on the use of these services. Methods: The present study used data from a Korean national epidemiological survey of mental disorders among community-dwelling adults aged 18–74 years (n = 3,055). The subjects were categorized into three age groups: young (18–39), middle-aged (40–59), and late adulthood (60–74). The Perceived Devaluation-Discrimination scale was used to assess the stigma placed on mental disorders in each group. The influence of perceived stigma on lifetime utilization of mental health services was examined according to age cohort using multiple logistic regression analyses that were adjusted for various sociodemographic factors (p < 0.006 with a Bonferroni correction). Results: The late-adulthood cohort was more likely to have perceived stigma of mental illness than were the other two groups, and the utilization of mental health services by the elderly cohort was more strongly affected by this perceived stigma than was such utilization by younger cohorts [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 4.14, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.86–9.22]. In the middle-aged cohort, being female or never being married was a significant determinant of use of mental health services (female, AOR 3.80, 95 % CI 2.17–6.65; unmarried, AOR 3.09, 95 % CI 1.43–6.70). Conclusion: It is important to reduce the perceived stigma placed on mental illness to improve access to mental health care among the current population of elderly people in Korea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-766
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Age groups
  • Mental disorders
  • Mental health services
  • Social stigma
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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