In psychology, secondary gain refers to the benefits or advantages that a person may derive from maintaining or exacerbating their symptoms of illness or disability. These benefits may be tangible, such as receiving financial compensation or avoiding unpleasant tasks, or intangible, such as receiving attention or sympathy from others.
Secondary gain can be a factor in the maintenance of certain mental health conditions, as the individual may be motivated to continue experiencing symptoms due to the benefits they receive as a result.
For example, an individual with a disability may receive financial compensation or other support from the government or from private sources. This individual might have a secondary gain from continuing to experience the disability, as they may be motivated to maintain the disability in order to continue receiving these benefits.
Similarly, an individual with a mental health condition such as depression may receive attention and support from loved ones when they are experiencing symptoms. This individual might have a secondary gain from continuing to experience the symptoms of depression, as they may be motivated to maintain the symptoms in order to continue receiving this attention and support.