Impact and Differences of Illness Course Perception on the Desire for Social Distance towards People with Symptoms of Depression or Schizophrenia in Hanoi, Vietnam
Martensen, Lara Kim; Hahn, Eric; Duc, Cao Tien; Schomerus, Georg; Böge, Kerem; Dettling, Michael; Angermeyer, Matthias; Nguyen, Van Tuan; Ta, Thi Minh Tam – 2020
Public stigma against psychiatric disorders leads to delayed treatment utilization and worsens treatment outcome. This study analyses the impact of expectations regarding the course of illness and attribution as medical illness on the desire for social distance towards schizophrenia and depression in Vietnam. METHODS In 2013, a survey (n = 771) using unlabelled vignettes either depicting a person with symptoms typical for schizophrenia or major depression was carried out in Hanoi. All respondents had to indicate whether the person was suffering from a medical illness or not. As an indicator of public stigma, the desire for social distance was measured. A possible correlation between expectations towards the course of illness and social distance was evaluated using a linear regression model. RESULTS 85 % of respondents endorsed that the person depicted in the schizophrenia vignette had a mental illness, compared to only 60 %, who were confronted with the depression vignette. This attribution of mental illness was correlated with higher levels of desire for social distance only in the schizophrenia vignette. While in the case of schizophrenia negative prognostic perceptions were associated with more desire for social distance, in the event of depression, it was only the expectation of lifelong dependency. Moreover, only for depression, positive expectations towards the course of illness correlated with less desire for social distance. CONCLUSION These results indicate an impact of prognostic expectations on the desire for social distance and support strategies that aim at maintaining social integration and strengthening autonomy.