OBJECTIVE: To identify the constituent elements of the stigma from the perspective of those having first-hand experiences of it.
METHODS: Subjective experiences of stigma were explored in six focus groups: three with people suffering from schizophrenia and three with patients' relatives. Focus group sessions were tape-recorded, transcribed and analyzed by means of an inductive method, forming categories from the texts, as a basis for coding. Analysis aimed at establishing a typology of stigmatization experiences from the spoken words of the focus group participants.
RESULTS: Four dimensions of stigma were identified: access to social roles; internalization of stigma; quality of mental health services, public image of mental illness.
CONCLUSION: The most frequently found topics concerned experiences of marginalization and discrimination that people with schizophrenia experience in their daily life. These results mirror the findings of similar studies obtained in other cultural contexts.