Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
https://trends.org.br/article/doi/10.1590/S2237-60892012000400004
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Original Article

Stigmatizing attitudes in relatives of people with schizophrenia: a study using the Attribution Questionnaire AQ-27

Atitudes estigmatizantes em familiares de pessoas com esquizofrenia: um estudo utilizando o Attribution Questionnaire AQ-27

Sara de Sousa; António Marques; Curral Rosário; Cristina Queirós

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Family members of people with mental disorders can contribute to stigmatization. Because of the lack of adequate information and resources, and the fatigue resulting from daily care, the family can reinforce social exclusion of the mentally ill and disbelieve recovery. Furthermore, family members may also suffer from self-stigma, experiencing a decrease in their own self-esteem and self-worth. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the presence of stigmatizing attitudes towards patients diagnosed with schizophrenia in a group of relatives of patients with this disorder. METHODS: In this exploratory study, we surveyed 40 family members of patients with schizophrenia seen at the Community Psychiatry Unit of the Psychiatry Department at Centro Hospitalar de São João (CHSJ), in Porto, Portugal, using a preliminary version of the Attribution Questionnaire AQ-27 in Portuguese. RESULTS: The questionnaire dimensions with the highest mean scores were help, pity, and coercion, followed by segregation, anger, avoidance, dangerousness, responsibility, and fear. These results suggest that relatives do not see people with schizophrenia as responsible for their illness and that they show concern and willingness to help. They avoid but do not fear people with schizophrenia and neither consider them dangerous. CONCLUSION: The participants expressed positive, little stigmatizing attitudes towards people with schizophrenia, probably as a result of their familiarity with severe mental disorder, an adequate attribution process, and low levels of perceived dangerousness. However, the high scores of coercion, pity, and segregation may reflect concealed stigmas that may influence the self-determination of the mentally ill, suggesting the need for psychoeducational interventions aimed at family members.

Keywords

Social stigma, family relations, schizophrenia

Resumo

INTRODUÇÃO: Na doença mental, a família pode ser um agente do processo de estigmatização. Devido à falta de informação adequada e de recursos e ao cansaço decorrente do processo de cuidar, ela pode contribuir para a exclusão social do familiar doente e desinvestir na sua recuperação. Além disso, pode também ser detentora de autoestigma, observando-se uma diminuição da autoestima e da autovalorização da família. OBJETIVO: Avaliar a presença de atitudes estigmatizantes em um grupo de familiares de pacientes com esquizofrenia, relativamente às pessoas com esse diagnóstico. MÉTODO: Neste estudo exploratório, foram inquiridos 40 familiares de pacientes com esquizofrenia tratados na Unidade de Psiquiatria Comunitária do Serviço de Psiquiatria do Centro Hospitalar de São João (CHSJ), em Porto, Portugal, utilizando a versão portuguesa preliminar do Attribution Questionnaire AQ-27. RESULTADOS: As dimensões do questionário que apresentaram médias mais elevadas foram ajuda, pena e coação, seguidas de segregação, irritação, evitamento, perigo, responsabilidade e, por último, medo. Esses resultados sugerem que os familiares não atribuem às pessoas com esquizofrenia a responsabilidade de estarem doentes e que mostram preocupação e disponibilidade para ajudar. Eles evitam as pessoas com esquizofrenia mas não sentem medo delas nem as consideram perigosas. CONCLUSÃO: Os participantes manifestam atitudes positivas e pouco estigmatizantes para com as pessoas com esquizofrenia, decorrentes da sua familiaridade com a doença mental grave, de um processo de atribuição adequado e da baixa percepção de perigosidade. Contudo, os valores de coação, pena e segregação podem traduzir algum estigma encoberto que pode influenciar a autodeterminação da pessoa com experiência de doença mental grave, sugerindo-se intervenções no âmbito da psicoeducação familiar.

Palavras-chave

Estigma social, relação familiar, esquizofrenia

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