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A randomised controlled trial of repeated filmed social contact on reducing mental illness-related stigma in young adults

  • S. Koike (a1) (a2) (a3), S. Yamaguchi (a4), Y. Ojio (a5), K. Ohta (a2) (a3), T. Shimada (a1), K. Watanabe (a1), G. Thornicroft (a6) and S. Ando (a7)...



Public stigma alters attitudes towards people with mental illness, and is a particular concern for young people since most mental health problems occur in adolescence and young adulthood. However, little is known about the long-term effects of repeated filmed social contact (FSC) on reducing mental health-related stigma among young adults in the general population, compared with self-instructional Internet search (INS) and control interventions.


This study is a parallel-group randomised controlled trial over 12 months conducted in Tokyo, Japan. A total of 259 university students (male n = 150, mean age = 20.0 years, s.d. = 1.2) were recruited from 20 colleges and universities between November 2013 and July 2014, without being provided information about the mental health-related survey or trial. Participants were assigned to one of three groups before completion of the baseline survey (FSC/INS/control = 89/83/87). The FSC group received a computer-based 30-min social contact film with general mental health education and five follow-up web-based FSCs at 2-month intervals. The INS group undertook a 30-min search for mental health-related information with five follow-up web-based reminders for self-instructional searches at 2-month intervals. The control group played PC games and had no follow-up intervention. The main outcome measures were the future (intended behaviour) domain of the Reported and Intended Behaviour Scale at 12 months after the intervention. Analysis was conducted in September 2015.


At the 12-month follow-up, 218 participants completed the survey (84.1%, 75:70:73). The FSC group showed the greatest change at the 12-month follow-up (FSC: mean change 2.11 [95% CI 1.49, 2.73], INS: 1.04 [0.29, 1.80], control: 0.71 [0.09, 1.33]; FSC v. INS p = 0.037, FSC v. controls p = 0.004). No adverse events were reported during the follow-up period.


FSC was more successful in reducing stigma at 12 months after intervention than INS or control interventions. FSC could be used to reduce stigma in educational lectures and anti-stigma campaigns targeted at young people.

Study registration.

This study is registered at UMIN-CTR (No. UMIN000012239).


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: S. Koike, Center for Evolutionary Cognitive Sciences, Graduate School of Art and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan. (Email:


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