Mental Health Stigma
Comparing self-reports to administrative data records on diagnosis and prescription drug use, we find that survey respondents under-report mental health conditions 36% of the time when asked about diagnosis and about 20% of the time when asked about prescription drug use. Survey respondents are significantly less likely to under-report other conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. This behavior is consistent with a model in which mental health illnesses are stigmatized and agents have incentives to hide such traits from others. We show that differential under-reporting of depression is correlated with age, gender, and ethnicity and that these characteristics also predict a lower probability of mental health treatment, suggesting that stigma can play an important role in determining health-seeking behavior.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21240
Published: Prashant Bharadwaj & Mallesh M. Pai & Agne Suziedelyte, 2017. "Mental health stigma," Economics Letters, vol 159, pages 57-60.
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