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Community Ment Health J. 2011 Dec;47(6):613-21. doi: 10.1007/s10597-010-9341-1. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Perceived impact of the disclosure of a schizophrenia diagnosis.

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Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Stigma against those with schizophrenia has demonstrated deleterious effects. However, less is known about the experience of individuals who disclose this diagnosis and how such disclosures differ by social situations. This study examines diagnosis disclosure in different contexts. A convenience sample of 258 adults with schizophrenia recruited via the internet and e-mail lists completed an online survey. Subjects were more open about their diagnosis with doctors, parents and friends than with employers or police. Those who report very good current mental health or who had fewer types of relationships were more open overall. Although reactions to disclosure varied, many report worse treatment by police and better treatment by parents after disclosure. Many also experienced worse treatment for medical problems after disclosing their schizophrenia diagnosis. These results support targeted anti-stigma interventions. It also suggests that stigma must be understood through individual experience in specific contexts rather than as a unitary experience.

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