How Stigma and Discrimination are Perceived by Rural or Urban Patients Suffering from Schizophrenia? An Exploratory Cross – Sectional Study fromWestern India
Background: Stigma is conceptualized as an attribute which is deeply discrediting and makes the person carrying it different from other and of a less desirable kind. Current study aimed to describe the nature and direction of experienced stigma; and discrimination reported by people with schizophrenia. Methods: One hundred and fifty patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia were selected from the Out Patient service of Psychiatry Department of a medical college general hospital. The experiences of stigma and discrimination were assessed using a semi-structured instrument developed by national working group for India by the world psychiatric association steering committee. Results: Differences were seen between rural and urban respondents. Patients from rural background more often reported these experiences: society treats differently, ridiculing by others, offensive comments, hiding from relatives, rejecting attitude of peoples around, attribution of supernatural cause as most common source of stigma, social exploitation, not fully accepted in the family, pushed into unacceptable social situation and sexual harassment. Reported narratives provided the direct view of these patients. Conclusions: Stigma experience is pervasive: it deeply affects the social, occupational and emotional wellbeing of patients with schizophrenia and should be included in clinical management. Effective anti-stigma intervention should target on improving attitudes and the condition for social integration in the community, empowering people with schizophrenia to challenge self-stigmatization and discrimination behavior towards them.
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