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In Vietnam, as well as in other low and middle-income countries, stigmatization and discrimination of mentally ill patients is highly prevalent.
It is important to identify determinants of stigmatization in a socio-cultural context as they may reveal anchor points for anti-stigma efforts.
This population based study conducted in urban and rural Hanoi aims to explore whether public perception of prognosis and course of illness concerning people with symptoms indicating schizophrenia have an impact on the desire for social distance, an important factor of stigmatization.
Based on a population survey using unlabelled vignettes for schizophrenia carried out in the greater Hanoi area in 2013, a sum score of the Social Distance Scale was calculated. A regression analysis was carried out to examine the impact perception of prognostic factors on the desire for social distance. The stratification of the sample (n = 455) was representative in terms of gender, age, urbanity and household size to the Hanoi population according to the 2013 census.
Factor analysis revealed three independent factors of prognosis perception:
– 1. lifelong dependency on others;
– 2. loss of social integration and functioning;
– 3. positive expectations towards treatment outcome.
Both negative prognostic ideas (1,2) were significantly correlated with more desire for social distance in schizophrenia.
Stronger desire for social distance was observed among people with negative expectations about the prognosis of persons suffering from psychotic symptoms. Thus, our study indicates a link between social acceptance and ability to maintain a social role in the Vietnamese society.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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