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Depression Stigma and Treatment Preferences Among Orthodox and Non-Orthodox Jews

Baruch, David E. MA*; Kanter, Jonathan W. PhD; Pirutinsky, Steven MS; Murphy, Joseph BA*; Rosmain, David H. PhD§

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: July 2014 - Volume 202 - Issue 7 - p 556–561
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000158
Original Articles

Anecdotal reports of increased stigma toward mental illness among Orthodox Jews seems to conflict with an existing literature describing less stigmatization toward depression among Jewish individuals. This online survey study investigated stigma toward depression and treatment preference among Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews (N = 391). All participants were presented with a depression vignette to assess for stigma and then randomized to a vignette depicting a treatment modality (behaviorally oriented or insight oriented) to assess for treatment preference across several delivery options (individual, group, or Internet). Results indicated elevated depression stigma among Orthodox Jews as expressed by elevated levels of secrecy, treatment-seeking stigma, family/marriage stigma, and stigmatizing experiences, but not attitudinal social distancing. No group differences were found with respect to overall treatment preference, treatment modality, or manner of delivery. Overall, participants preferred individual therapy more than group and Internet therapy and preferred group therapy more than Internet therapy. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

*University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI; †University of Washington, Seattle,WA; ‡Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY; and §McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA.

Send reprint requests to David E. Baruch, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2441 E Hartford Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins