Causal Beliefs, Stigma & Social Support in Schizophrenia

Causal Beliefs, Stigma and Social Support in Persons with Schizophrenia and their Caregivers

Chirumamilla Kavitha1, 2,3

Ahalya Raguram1

  1. Department of Mental Health and Social Psychology, National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India
  2. Manasvin’s Center for Family Psychotherapy, Hyderabad, India
  3. PRASHASA Health Consultants Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad, India

Corresponding Author: Chirumamilla Kavitha

Address for Correspondence: Chirumamilla Kavitha, Manasvin’s Center for Family Psychotherapy, 6-3-609/139, Anand Nagar Colony, Khairtabad, Hyderabad 500004.

Financial Disclosures: None


Purpose:  To understand causal beliefs, stigma and social supports among persons with schizophrenia and their caregivers

Methods: A cross sectional study design on a purposive sample of persons with schizophrenia (ICD-10) and their caregivers attending National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) at Bangalore, India. Socio demographic and clinical data were collected using a structured questionnaire. Link’s Perceived Stigma questionnaire was administered to each subject and caregivers and a Short Explanatory Model Interview was used to study the beliefs of patients. A semi structured interview schedule for social supports was used to assess the available social supports for subjects in the study.

Results: Thirty subjects and caretakers, with a mean age of 27.90 ± 5.28 years and 46.03 ± 12.52 years for patients and caregivers respectively, were enrolled in the study. The mean duration of caregivers living with the subject was 17.62 ± 6.18 years. There was a significant difference (t test p value=0.04) between patients and caregivers in the devaluation and discrimination scale of the perceived stigma scales. Caregivers believed that employability was lower for persons with previous history of schizophrenia.  Both patients and caregivers were likely to hide the history of schizophrenia among patients. Major perceived causes for the illness did not differ significantly between persons with schizophrenia and caregivers. Both caregivers and persons with schizophrenia reported similar impact of the illness on their work, finances and social interactions. Strains in marital relationship were reported by persons with schizophrenia.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that causal beliefs, perceptions of stigma and the impact of the illness are primarily driving the need for secrecy and confidentiality and possibly restricting the utilization of support to the immediate family of persons with schizophrenia. The impact of support systems and psychoeducation on persons with schizophrenia and their caregivers has to be studied further.


Causal Beliefs, Stigma and Social Support in persons with Schizophrenia and their caregivers