Dehumanization and mental health: clinical implications and future directions

Tom Jenkins, Morgan Robison, Thomas Joiner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Research shows that people with mental health conditions experience dehumanization, and this is associated with states of emotional distress. Possible sources of meta-dehumanization include interpersonal interactions with members of society, professionals, and institutions, as well as negative portrayals in the news and media. Self-dehumanization may arise from the internalization of these meta-perceptions, interpersonal interactions, or the inherent nature of certain mental health conditions. This article reviews literature on meta- and self-dehumanization within clinical psychology, suggests directions for future research, and provides clinical implications for the field. We advocate for the consideration of self-dehumanization in existing therapies, the development of protocols designed for rehumanization, and the provision of more humanizing care by professionals and society.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101257
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Early online date6 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was in part supported by the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC), an effort supported by the U.S. Department of Defense (Grant No. W81XWH-16-20003 ). This work was also supported by Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK) and the Schizophrenia Research Fund . Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Military Suicide Research Consortium, the U.S. Department of Defense, Mental Health Research UK, or the Schizophrenia Research Fund.

Data Availability
No data was used for the research described in the article

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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