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A Pilot Study Evaluating the Stigma and Public Perception about the Causes of Depression and Schizophrenia

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Author(s): TM Khan | MA Hassali | H Tahir | A Khan

Journal: Iranian Journal of Public Health
ISSN 2251-6085

Volume: 40;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 50;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Depression | Schizophrenia | Supernatural | Malaysia

ABSTRACT
"nBackground: To evaluate public perceptions towards the causes of depression and schizophrenia and identifications of fac­tors resulting stigma towards mental ill."nMethod: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the inhabitants of Pulau-Pinang, Malaysia in March, 2009. A 24-item questionnaire was used to obtain respondent views. A non-probability (i.e convenient sampling method) was used to ap­proach the potential respondents. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS version 13 ®, non-parametric sta­tistics (Chi-square) was applied to determine the association.  Alpha value less than 0.05 were considered significant."nResults: One hundred respondents showed their willingness to participate in the study; overall response of the study was 40.0%. Majority 69% of the respondents were Malays, followed by Chinese and Indians. Public re-cognition toward depres­sion was higher than schizophrenia. Lack of social support (X2= 4.832, P= 0.049), chemical imbalance in Brian (X2=6.132, P= 0.013*) and believes in supernatural factors (X2= 6.700, P= 0.050) were the commonly shared reasons for the mental dis­or­ders. Evaluation in terms of stigma revealed that majority 61 (55.0%). Individuals with mental disorders were not friendly (X2= 1.008, P= 0.050). Furthermore, one third of the population believe that they are moody, danger­ous and unpredict­able, it is better to avoid them."nConclusion: Overall findings revealed that Malaysians believe in supernatural reasons for the prevalence of mental disor­ders. Similarly the level of stigma towards mentally ill was higher among the respondents.
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