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Open Access Research article

Stigma toward schizophrenia among parents of junior and senior high school students in Japan

Hatsumi Yoshii1*, Yuichiro Watanabe23, Hideaki Kitamura2, Zhang Nan1 and Kouhei Akazawa1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Informatics and Statistics, Niigata University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-754 Asahimachi-dori, Chuo-ku, Niigata, Japan 951-8520

2 Department of Psychiatry, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 1-754 Asahimachi-dori, Chuo-ku, Niigata, Japan 951-8520

3 Health Administration Center, Headquarters for Health Administration, Niigata University, 8050 Ikarashi-ninocho, Nishi-ku, Niigata, Japan 950-2181

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:558  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-558

Published: 22 December 2011

Abstract

Background

Stigma toward schizophrenia is a substantial barrier to accessing care and adhering to treatment. Provisions to combat stigma are important, but in Japan and other developed countries there are few such provisions in place that target parents of adolescents. The attitudes of parents are important to address as first schizophrenic episodes typically occur in adolescence. In overall efforts to develop an education program and provisions against stigma, here we examined the relationship between stigma toward schizophrenia and demographic characteristics of parents of junior and senior high school students in Japan. The specific hypothesis tested was that contact and communication with a person with schizophrenia would be important to reducing stigma. A questionnaire inquiring about respondent characteristics and which included a survey on stigma toward schizophrenia was completed by 2690 parents.

Results

The demographic characteristics significantly associated with the Devaluation- Discrimination Measure were family income, occupation, presence of a neighbor with schizophrenia, and participation in welfare activities for people with mental illness (p < 0.05). The mean ± SD score was 32.74 ± 5.66 out of a maximum of 48 points on the Link Devaluation-Discrimination Measure.

Conclusions

Stigma toward schizophrenia among parents of junior and senior high school students was in fact significantly stronger among members of the general public who had had contact with individuals with schizophrenia. In addition, stigma was associated with family income.