Self-stigma, quality of life and schizophrenia: An outpatient clinic survey in Nigeria

Temilola J Mosanya, Adegoke O Adelufosi, Olaolu T Adebowale, Adegboyega Ogunwale, Olaide K Adebayo
International Journal of Social Psychiatry 2014, 60 (4): 377-86

BACKGROUND: Stigma is a major obstacle to the treatment and recovery of people with mental illness. In Nigeria, there is a dearth of information on internalization of stigma and its effect on treatment outcome measures such as quality of life.

AIM AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to assess self-stigma among patients with schizophrenia attending a psychiatric hospital outpatient clinic, and the relationship of self-stigma to the socio-demographic, clinical characteristics and quality of life of the patients.

METHOD: Two hundred and fifty-six consecutive outpatient attendees of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta in Nigeria with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) diagnosis of schizophrenia were recruited for the study. The diagnosis of schizophrenia was established with the Structured Clinical Interview Schedule for DSM-IV Axis I disorder (SCID), while item 17 of the Present State Examination was used to ascertain the presence of insight into the illness. The subjects were interviewed with a socio-demographic questionnaire, the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness (ISMI) scale, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the World Health Organization's Quality of Life (WHOQOL-Bref) questionnaire.

RESULTS: The mean age of the subjects was 39.5 (SD = 10.6) years with males constituting 52.0% of the sample. High self-stigma was found in 18.8% of the subjects. The socio-demographic and clinical correlates of high self-stigma found using univariate analysis were low educational level (χ(2) = 22.69, p < .001), unemployment (χ(2) = 15.9, p < .001), low income (χ(2) = 25.03, p < .001), source of income (χ(2) = 12.52, p = .007) and severity of psychopathology (t = 8.245, p < .001). High self-stigma was associated with poor quality of life in all the domains of WHOQOL-Bref.

CONCLUSION: This study revealed that self-stigma was common among subjects with schizophrenia. It is associated with poor treatment outcome, highlighting the need to incorporate stigma intervention strategies into mental health care delivery.

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