Stigma and expressed emotion: A study of people with schizophrenia and their family members in China

Michael R. Phillips, Veronica Pearson, Feifei Li, Minjie Xu, Lawrence Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The most damaging effect of stigma is the internalisation of others' negative valuations. Aims: To explore the factors that mediate patients' emotional and cognitive responses to stigma. Method: Based on responses to 10 open-ended questions about stigma appended to the Chinese version of the Camberwell Family Interview, trained coders rated the effect of stigma on both patients and family members in 1491 interviews conducted with 952 family members of 608 patients with schizophrenia at 5 sites around China from 1990 to 2000. Results: Family members reported that stigma had had a moderate to severe effect on the lives of patients over the previous 3 months in 60% of the interviews, and on the lives of other family members in 26% of the interviews. The effect of stigma on patients and family members was significantly greater if the respondent had a high level of expressed emotion, if the patient had more severe positive symptoms, if the respondent was highly educated and if the family lived in a highly urbanised area. Conclusions: Clinicians should assess the effect of stigma as part of the standard work-up for patients with mental illness, and help patients and family members reduce the effect of stigma on their lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-493
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberDEC.
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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