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Experiences of stigma and discrimination among caregivers of persons with schizophrenia in China: a field survey

Yi Yin, Weijun Zhang, Zhenyu Hu, Fujun Jia, Yafang Li, Huiwen Xu, Shuliang Zhao, Jing Guo, Donghua Tian, Zhiyong Qu
PloS One 2014, 9 (9): e108527
25259732
In China, caregivers for family members with schizophrenia play an important role in treatment and recovery but may experience stigma and discrimination simply because of their family relationship. The object of this study was to measure the degrees and correlates of stigma and discrimination experiences among this group. Four hundred twenty-seven caregivers participated in this hospital-based and cross-sectional study in Ningbo and Guangzhou, China. Data were collected by trained interviewers using fixed questionnaires. Stigma and discrimination experiences were measured by the Modified Consumer Experiences of Stigma Questionnaire (MCESQ). Caregivers' social support was measured by the Social Support Rating Scale. Parametric analysis, nonparametric analysis and multivariate linear regression were used. The mean (SD) score of MCESQ was 2.44(0.45), 2.91(0.71) for stigma experiences and 1.97(0.37) for discrimination experiences on a five-point score ("1 = never" and "5 = very often"). Approximately 65% of caregivers reported that they tried to conceal their family members' illness, and 71% lacked the support of friends. The experience of stigma was significantly negatively associated with the perceived social support of caregivers (standard β = -0.2,p<0.001). Caregivers who were children of the patients experienced fewer stigmas than other (standard β = -0.18, p<0.001). Urban residence (standard β = -0.12, p<0.01) and patients did not complete primary school education (standard β = -0.13, p<0.01) were negatively related with stigmas. In addition, stigma and discrimination was more experienced in Zhejiang than in Guangdong (p<0.05). In conclusion, this study performed that caregivers of people with schizophrenia in China experienced general stigmas and rare discrimination and found the relations with social support, kinship, patient's educational level and regional differences. More interventions and supports should been given to caregivers who are lack of social support, who live in rural area and who are the patients' parents, spouses or siblings.

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