Self-stigma and vocational hope among a sample of students with disability at AL-Baath University in Syria

  • Suheir Ali Moussa Doctoral degree, Department of psychology, faculty of Education, University of Erfurt, Germany
Keywords: Internalized stigma, self-stigma, students with disability, work hope, vocational hope


The study aimed to determine the relationship between self-stigma and vocational hope among disabled university students. This study further examined whether the levels of self-stigma and vocational hope reported by participants vary as a function of gender and type of disability. The sample (N = 134) consisted of students with physical disability or loss of a limb (N = 20), paralysis or mobility disability (N = 23), visual impairment (N = 32), hearing impairment (N = 31), and speech and communication disorder (N = 28) who are studying at AL-Baath University in Homs, Syria. The following scales were applied: the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness (ISMI) and the Work Hope Scale (WHS). Results indicated that the research sample reported a high level of self-stigma and low vocational hope. An analysis further showed a significant negative correlation between self-stigma and vocational hope (r = -0.862, p<0.05), where higher self-stigma was associated with lower vocational hope. The results further indicated that male participants expressed a higher level of vocational hope and a lower level of self-stigma than female participants. Finally, results found that levels of self-stigma and vocational hope reported by participants did not vary as a function of the type of disability.


Download data is not yet available.


Abdo, A., Lachine, O., & Mousa, M. (2022). Relationship between Recovery, Hope and Internalized Stigma Resistance among Patients with Depressive Disorders. Alexandria Scientific Nursing Journal, 24(2): 98-111. doi: 10.21608/asalexu.2022.248626

Adioetomo, S. M., Mont, D., & Irwanto. (2014). Persons with disabilities in Indonesia: Empirical facts and implications for social protection policies. Jakarta, Indonesia: Demographic Institute, Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia in collaboration with Tim Nasional Percepatan Penanggulangan Kemiskinan (TNP2K).

Alonso, J., Buron, A., Rojas-Farreras, S., de Graaf, R., Haro, J. M., de Girolamo, G., Bruffaerts, R., Kovess, V., Matschinger, H., Vilagut, G., & ESEMeD/MHEDEA 2000 Investigators. (2009). Perceived stigma among individuals with common mental disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders, 118(1-3), 180-186.

Asrat, B., Ayenalem, A. E., Yimer, T. (2018). Internalized stigma among patients with mental illness attending psychiatric follow-up at Dilla university referral hospital, Sothern Ethiopia. Psychiatry Journal: 1-7.

Bantekas, I., Pennilas, F., & Tromel, S. (2018). Article 27: Work and Employment. In: Bantekas, I., Stein, M. A., & Anastasiou. D., (Eds.). The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary. Oxford (UK): Oxford University Press. pp. 764-800.

Bathje, G., & Pryor, J. (2011). The relationships of public and self-stigma to seeking mental health services. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 33(2): 161–176.

Boyle, M. P. (2012). Self-stigma of stuttering: implications for self-esteem, self-efficacy, and life Satisfaction. Doctoral dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Boyle, M., & Fearon, A. (2018). Self-stigma and its associations with stress, physical health, and health care satisfaction in adults who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders. 56: 112–121. doi: 10.1016/j.jfludis.2017.10.002

Breffka, E., Jagoe, C., Murphy, S.P. & Tsegaw, B. B., (2023). Restricted participation: Drivers, experiences and implications of disability stigma in Ethiopia. African Journal of Disability 12(0), a1085. https://doi. org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1085

Brohan E, Elgie R, Sartorius N, et al. (2010a) Self-stigma, empowerment and perceived discrimination among people with schizophrenia in 14 European countries: The GAMIAN-Europe study. Schizophrenia Research 122(1–3): 232–238. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2010.02.1065

Cameron, L., & Suarez, D.C. (2017). Disability in Indonesia: What can we learn from the data? Report, The Australia Indonesia Partnership for Economic Governance in collaboration with Monash University and the Australian Government, Sydney

Chivate, P., Umate, M., Nimkar, S. & De Sousa, A. (2017). Gender differences in perceived stigma and hope in people living with HIV / AIDS: an explanatory study. International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, 4(2): 487-493

Corker, E., Henderson, R. C., Lempp, H., & Brown, J. S. (2016). Internalized stigma in people with rheumatoid arthritis: A cross sectional study to establish the psychometric properties of the ISMI-RA. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 17, 244.

Corrigan, P. W., & Rao, D. (2012). On the self-stigma of mental illness: Stages, disclosure, and strategies for change. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry / La Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 57(8), 464-469.

Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2002). The paradox of self-stigma and mental illness. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 35–53

Corrigan, P. W., & Watson, A. C. (2007).The stigma of psychiatric disorders and the gender, ethnicity, and education of the perceiver. Community Mental Health Journal, 43(5): 439 -458

Corrigan, P. W., Bink, A. B., Shmidt, A., Jones, N., & Rüsch, N. (2016). What is the impact of self-stigma? Loss of self-respect and the “why try” effect. Journal of Mental Health, 25(1), 10-5.

Corrigan, P. W., Larson, J. E., & Kuwabara, S. A. (2010). Social psychology of the stigma of mental illness: Public and self-stigma models. In Maddux, J.E., & Tangney, J. P. (Eds). Social psychological foundations of clinical psychology. New York: Guilford, The Guilford Press, pp.51-68.

Corrigan, P. W., Watson, A. C., & Barr, L. (2006). The self-stigma of mental illness: Implications for self-esteem and self-efficacy. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25, 875–884.

Corrigan, P., Larson, J., & Rusch, N. (2009). Self-stigma and the "why try" effect: impact on life goals and evidence-based practices. World Psychiatry, 8(2): 75-8l. Retrieved from

Del Rosal, E., González-Sanguino, C., Bestea, S., Boyd, J., & Muñoz, M. (2021). Correlates and consequences of internalized stigma assessed through the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Scale for people living with mental illness: A scoping review and meta-analysis from 2010. Stigma and Health, 6(3): 324-334.

Dewedar, A. S., Harfush, S. A., & Gemeay, E. M. (2018). Relationship between insight, self-stigma and level of hope among patients with schizophrenia. IOSR Journal of Nursing and health Science, 7, 15-24

Dragojević, N., Milačić-Vidojević, I., & Čolić, M. (2016). Half-empty or half-full glass: The impact of sociodemographic variables and type of disability on the optimism of people with physical and sensory impairments. Specijalna Edukacija i Rehabilitacija, 15(3): 239-264

Drucker, Miya V., (2012). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and career ideation: an application of hope theory and social cognitive career theory. Master Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Dunn, D. (2015). The social psychology of disability, Oxford University Press, New York

Ebuenyi, I., Syurina, E., Bunders, J., Regeer, B. (2018). Barriers to and facilitators of employment for people with psychiatric disabilities in Africa: a scoping review. Global Health Action.11 (1):1463658. doi:10.1080/16549716.2018.1463658

Ellemers, N., & Rink, F. (2016). Diversity in work groups. Current Opinion in Psychology, 11, 49–53.

Engidaw, N. A., Asefa, E. Y., Belayneh, Z., & Wubetu, A. D. (2020). Stigma resistance and its associated factors among people with bipolar disorder at Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Depression Research and Treatment, 2020, Article 7917965.

Ertugrul, A. and Ulu, B. (2004). Perception of stigma among patients with schizophrenia. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 39(1), 73–77

Feldman, D. B., O. B. Davidson, S. Ben-Naim, E. Maza, and M. Margalit. (2016). “Hope as a Mediator of Loneliness and Academic Self-efficacy Among Students With and Without Learning Disabilities During the Transition to College.” Learning Disabilities, Research & Practice, 31, 63–74. doi:10.1111/ ldrp.12094.

Forsgren, L., Ghanean, H., Jacobsson, L. & Richter, J. (2013). On the experience of stigma by persons with epilepsy in Sweden and Iran—a comparative study. Seizure, 22, 748–751.

Hamidi S, Ebrahimi H, Vahidi M, Areshtanab HN. (2023). Internalized stigma and its association with hope, self esteem, self efficacy, and treatment adherence among outpatients with severe mental illness: A cross sectional survey. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 28 (3): 345 351

Hettenbaugh, R. W., (2021). A Comparison of student hope and social-emotional competence between general education and special education settings. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA.

ILO. /International Labour Organization/. (2013). Priority issues and recommendations for disability inclusion in the Post 2015 Agenda – World of Work. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Office.

Juntunen, C. L., & Wettersten, K. B. (2006). Work hope: Development and initial validation of a measure. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 94–106.

Kalisova, L., Michalec, J., Hadjipapanicolaou, D., & Raboch, J. (2018). Factors influencing the level of self-stigmatisation in people with mental illness. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, vol. 64(4), 374–380.

Khan, N., Kausar, R., Khalid, A., & Farooq, A. (2015). Gender differences among discrimination & stigma experienced by depressive patients in Pakistan.Pakistan journal of medical sciences, vol. 31(6), 1432–1436.

Kong, L.; Gao, Z.; Xu, N.; Shao, S.; Ma, H.; He, Q.; Zhang, D.; Xu, H.; Qu, H. (2020). The relation between self-stigma and loneliness in visually impaired college students: Self- acceptance as mediator. Disabil. Health J. 14, 101054.

Krajewski, C., Burazeri, G., & Brand, H. (2013). Self-stigma, perceived discrimination and empowerment among people with a mental illness in six countries: Pan European stigma study. Psychiatry research, 210(3), 1136–1146.

Lewis, A. & Porter, J. (2004). Interviewing children and young people with learning disabilities: Guidelines for researchers and multi-professional practice. 23: (4). pp. 191-197.

Liang, L. Y., & Zhang, Y. N. (2023). The Effect of Self-Stigma on the Hope of Chinese with Mental Illness: The Mediating Role of Family Function. Psychiatry, 86(2): 112–123,

Liisberg, M. V. (2017). Article 12 [Work and Employment]. In: Della Fina, V., Cera, R., Palmisano, G. (Eds.). The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Commentary. Springer, Cham, 497–508.

Lindsay S, Cagliostro E, Albarico M, et al. (2017). Gender matters in the transition to employment for young adults with physical disabilities. Disability Rehabilitation.17, 1-14.

Lindsay S, McDougall C, Menna-Dack D, Sanford R, & Adams T. (2015). An ecological approach to understanding barriers to employment for youth with disabilities compared to their typically developing peers: Views of youth, employers and job counselors. Disability & Rehabilitation 37(8): 701-711.

Link, B. G. (1987). Understanding Labelling Effects in the Area of Mental Disorders: An Assessment of the Effects of Expectations of Rejection. American Sociological Review, 52, 96-112.

Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. C. (2001). Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 363– 385.

Livingston, J. D., & Boyd, J. E. (2010). Correlates and consequences of internalized stigma for people living with mental illness: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Science and Medicine, 71, 2150-2161. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.09.030

Lundberg B, Hansson L, Wentz E, et al. (2009). Are stigma experiences among persons with mental illness, related to perceptions of self-esteem, empowerment and sense of coherence? Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 16 (6): 516–522.

Milačić-Vidojević, I., Čolić, M., Tosković, O. & Dragojević, N. (2019). People with physical disability in Serbia: Relationship between internalized stigma, experienced and anticipated discrimination, and empowerment. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.

Mizunoya, S. & Mitra, S. (2012). “Is there a disability gap in employment rates in developing countries?” World Development 42, 28-43 doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2012.05.037

Mizunoya, S., Yamasaki, I., & Mitra, S. (2016). The Disability Gap in Employment Rates in a Developing Country Context: New Evidence from Vietnam, Economics Bulletin, 36(2):771-777

Moussa, S. (2022). Stigma during COVID 19 pandemic: The role of infodemic as a key driver. International Journal of Research in Educational Sciences, 5 (3): 77-104. Retrieved from

Moussa, S. (2016). School to work transition of students with disability in an inclusive context: The role of parents and school support. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Erfurt, Germany.

Ociskova, M., Prasko, J., Kamaradova, D., Grambal, A., & Sigmundova, Z. (2015). Individual correlates of self-stigma in patients with anxiety disorders with and without comorbidities. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 11, 1767-1779.

Olçun, Z., & Altun, Ö. Ş. (2017). The correlation between schizophrenic patients' level of internalized stigma and their level of hope. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 31(4): 332–337.

Pérez-Garín, D., Recio, P., & Molero, F. (2021). Consequences of Perceived Personal and Group Discrimination against People with Hearing and Visual Impairments. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (17): 9064.

Picco, L., Pang, S., Lau, Y.W., et al. (2016). Internalized stigma among psychiatric outpatients: Associations with quality of life, functioning, hope and self-esteem. Psychiatry Research, 246, 500–506.

Rana, H. J., Kausar, R., & Khan, N. (2021). Social anxiety and quality of life: Mediating role of stigma perception in individuals who stutter. NUST Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 7(2): 232–246.

Ritsher, J. B., Otilingam, P. O. & Grajales, M. (2003). Internalized stigma of mental illness: Psychometric properties of a new measure. Psychiatry Research, 121, 31–49.

Rohwerder, B., (2018). Disability stigma in developing countries, K4D Helpdesk Reports, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton

Rohwerder, B., (2020). Annotated bibliography: Disability and gender in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton.

Rusdiana, E., Nugroho, A., & Sari, N. (2022). The Corporate Management Strategies as Empowering Persons with Disabilities Through Equal Opportunity and Access to Employment in Indonesia. Indonesian Journal of Disability Studies, 9 (1), 75–88.

Santuzzi, A. M., Martinez, J., & Keating, R. (2021). The benefits of inclusion for disability measurement in the workplace. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal, 41(3), 474-490.

Sibitz, I., Unger, A., Woppmann, A., Zidek, T., & Amering, M. (2011). Stigma resistance in patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia bulletin, 37(2), 316–323

Stalker, K., (1998). Some Ethical and Methodological Issues in Research with People with Learning Difficulties. Disability & Society, Vol. 13: (1), pp. 5-19.

Statistics Canada. (2022). Hopefulness is declining across Canada: Having children or strong ties to a local community associated with a more hopeful outlook.

Switaj, P., Wcio´ rka, J., Smolarska-Switaj, J., et al. (2009). Extent and predictors of stigma experienced by patients with schizophrenia. European Psychiatry 24(8): 513–520.

Szcze´sniak, D., Kobyłko, A., Wojciechowska, I., Kłapcinski, ´M., & Rymaszewska, J. (2018). internalized stigma and its correlates among patients with severe mental illness. Dove Press Journal. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 14, 2955–12608.

Taft, T. H., Ballou, S. & Keefer, L. (2013). A preliminary evaluation of internalized stigma and stigma resistance in inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Health Psychology, 18, 451-460.

Tasse’, M. J., Schalock, R., Thomson, J. R., & Wehmeyer, M. (2005). Guidelines for interviewing people with disabilities: Supports Intensity Scale. American Association on Mental Retardation: Washington, DC.

Ternes, M. S. (2018). The Relationship Between Hope and Stigma in the Decision to seek mental health treatment. Doctoral dissertation, University of Kansas, USA.

Thompson, M. N., Nitzarim, R. S., Her, P., Sampe, M., & Diestelmann, J. (2017). Financial stress and work hope beliefs among adolescents. Journal of Career Assessment, 25(2), 254-267.

Thompson, M.N., Her, P., & Nitzarim, R.S. (2014). Personal and Contextual Variables Related to Work Hope Among Undergraduate Students From Underrepresented Backgrounds. Journal of Career Assessment, 22, 595 - 609.

Thornicroft G, Brohan E, Rose D, et al. (2009). Global pattern of experienced and anticipated discrimination against people with schizophrenia: A cross-sectional survey. The Lancet 373(9661): 408–415

UN. (2015). Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, 42809, 1-13.

Van Laar C, Meeussen L, Veldman J, Van Grootel S, Sterk N & Jacobs C. (2019). Coping With Stigma in the Workplace: Understanding the Role of Threat Regulation, Supportive Factors, and Potential Hidden Costs. Front. Psychol. 10:1879. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01879

Vrbova, K., Prasko, J., Ociskova, M., Kamaradova, D., Marackova, M., Holubova, M., Grambal, A., Slepecky, M., & Latalova, K. (2017). Quality of life, self-stigma, and hope in schizophrenia spectrum disorders: a cross-sectional study. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 13, 567–576.

Wahl, O. F. (1999). Telling is risky business: Mental health consumers confront stigma. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Waxman, D. (2017). “Model of Successful Corporate Culture Change Integrating Employees with Disabilities. In Factors in Studying Employment for Persons with Disability.” Emerald Publishing Limited., 2017. WHO and The World Bank. Understanding Disability, Chapter I. World Report on Disability.

Wikström, B.-M., Lorentzen, B. & Lorentzen, S. (2018). Gender Differences in Hope and Its Relevance to Depression Symptoms among Norwegian Adolescents. Open Journal of Nursing, 8, 157-169.

World Health Organization & World Bank. (2011). World report on disability. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

Yakushko, O., & Sokolova, O. (2010). Work Hope and Influences of the Career Development Among Ukrainian College Students. Journal of Career Development, 36, 310 - 323.

Yanos, P. T., Lysaker, P. H., & Roe, D. (2010). Internalized stigma as a barrier to improvement in vocational functioning among people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Psychiatric Research, 178(1), 211-213. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.01.003

Yanos, P. T., Roe, D., & Lysaker, P. H. (2011). Narrative enhancement and cognitive therapy: a new group-based treatment for internalized stigma among persons with severe mental illness. International journal of group psychotherapy, 61(4): 577-595

Yanos, P. T., Roe, D., Markus, K., & Lysaker, PH., (2008). Pathways between internalized stigma and outcomes related to recovery in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Psychiatric Services, 59, 1437-1442

How to Cite
Moussa, S. (2024). Self-stigma and vocational hope among a sample of students with disability at AL-Baath University in Syria. International Journal of Research in Educational Sciences., 7(2), 371- 424. Retrieved from