SCHIZOPHRENIA AND SOCIAL STIGMA: A SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE OF THE FAMILIES
Author: Sahu, Kamlesh K, email@example.com
Department: Department of Sociology
University: University of Calcutta, India
Supervisor: Dr. Sudeshna Basu Mukherjee
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English
Areas of Research:
Mental Health and Illness
, Social Psychology
, Family Research
Background: Social stigma is the severe disapproval of or discontent with a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society. Various medical conditions are stigmatized e.g. leprosy, HIV/AIDS, TB, epilepsy, schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is one of the most severe psychiatric disorders reported to occur in 1% of the world’s population (Jablensky et al., 1992) characterized by deviation from reality and/or by significant social or occupational dysfunction (Wing & Agrawal, 2003). Stigmatization not only affects the person with mental illness/schizophrenia, but also their families. Although mental illness stigma has been studied extensively (Poulton, Caspi & Moffitt, 2000; Cannon et al., 2002; Loganathan & Murthy, 2008), stigma experienced by their family members has got comparatively little attention in empirical research particularly in this region. So, the present study was undertaken.
Objectives: To locate what forms of stigma was experienced by them, to examine the associations between stigma experienced by them and socio-demographic and clinical variables and to explore the knowledge they have and their attitudes toward the persons with schizophrenia (PWS).
Methodology: Descriptive study design was employed with cross-sectional measures using following tools: General Health Questionnaire-5 (Shamsundar et al, 1986), Socio-demographic and Clinical Datasheet especially designed for the study, Knowledge about Schizophrenia Interview (Barrowclough et al., 1987)., Family Interview Schedule - Stigma section (Sartorious, et. al 1996), Attitude Questionnaire (Sethi et al., 1985) and Open-Ended Questions for stigma experienced by the family. Convergent parallel design was employed for data collection for the purpose of breadth and depth of understanding and corroboration of the phenomena of stigma experienced by the 100 families of a PWS who were living in the community with a person suffering from schizophrenia and attending outpatient service department of Psychiatry Institutes (either Govt. or Pvt.) in and around Kolkata fulfilling inclusion and exclusion criteria were studied with their written consent.
Conclusions: Family members of persons with schizophrenia experienced great degree of stigma more when their knowledge was poor and attitude was negative towards the person with schizophrenia which has important implication in psycho-educational programs of intervention to dispel stigma.