Effects of renaming schizophrenia on destigmatization among medical students in one Taiwan University

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Abstract

The stigma associated with serious mental illnesses causes a huge burden on patients, their families, and society. In October 2012, in Taiwan, schizophrenia was renamed to reduce the stigma associated with this disease. The aim of this study was to compare the differences of public stigma, self-stigma, and social distance associated with schizophrenia between old and new name of schizophrenia in medical students. A cross-sectional survey was administered to 180 medical students of Taipei Medical University from October 2014 to February 2015. In total, 123 complete questionnaires were included in this study. Participants completed the modified attribution questionnaire, the perceived psychiatric stigma scale, and modified social distance scale to assess public stigma, self-stigma, and social distance, respectively. We also collected basic demographic data and previous experience of contact with people with mental illness. In total, 52 and 71 of the first-and fourth-year medical students, respectively, participated in the study. Among them, there were 51 females and 72 males. A significant difference in age was observed between the first-and fourth-year groups (20.2 ± 1.7 years vs. 22.7 ± 0.9 years, p < 0.001). After renaming schizophrenia, we noted significant differences in the scores in the modified attribution questionnaire, the perceived psychiatric stigma scale, and the modified social distance scale in all participants and the fourth-year students, respectively. Female gender (Beta = 0.230, p = 0.018) was significantly associated with the difference in the score of the modified attribution questionnaire after name change. The difference in the score of the perceived psychiatric stigma scale after the name change (Beta = 0.277, p = 0.004) and age (Beta = −0.186, p = 0.049) were significantly associated with the difference in the score of the modified social distance scale after name change. In conclusion, renaming was associated with the changes in the scores of the modified attribution questionnaire, the perceived psychiatric stigma scale, and the modified social distance scale toward individuals with schizophrenia in medical students of one Taiwan university. Further studies with large sample sizes, diverse participant backgrounds, and that monitor the subsequent behavioral changes are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9347
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Medical students
  • Public stigma
  • Renaming
  • Schizophrenia
  • Self-stigma
  • Social distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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