The effects of the Expanded Coming Out Proud group on reducing self-stigma of people with schizophrenia in Hong Kong

Project: Research project

Project Details


Background: In Hong Kong, about 40% of people with schizophrenia are found to have self-stigma. Self-stigma has negative impacts such as lowering self-esteem and reducing treatment compliance, which in turn lead them not to have medical follow up, refuse psychiatric medications, increased psychiatric symptoms, and even relapse. It is important to develop therapeutic interventions to reduce self-stigma in people with schizophrenia to facilitate their recovery.

Objective: This research project aims to examine the effectiveness of an innovative intervention group, named Expanded Coming Out Proud (Expanded COP), that integrates both empowerment approach of COP and cognitive behavioral therapy, in reducing the self-stigma of Chinese people with schizophrenia by using randomized controlled trial. It is hypothesized that (1) the Expanded COP group can reduce self-stigma, reduce depressive, and enhance self-esteem for people with schizophrenia; (2) the improved outcomes can be maintained over a 6-month post-treatment follow-up period; and (3) the reduction in self-stigmatizing beliefs due to participation in the treatment group predicts the reduction of depressive symptoms and improvement of self-esteem.

Research Design: In this study, a single blind multicenter randomized controlled trial will be adopted. Eighty participants, who are recruited from four different local Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness (ICCMWs) that are operated by non-governmental organizations (NGO), are randomly assigned to a treatment group or a control group. In addition to the treatment as usual (TAU) provided by an ICCMW, the treatment group participate in 12-session Expanded COP group (one weekly session of 90 minutes each time), hold at multiple sites and facilitated by a social worker and a peer support worker. The control group receives TAU such as interest classes and leisure activities, provided by an ICCMW. A research assistant conducts data collection and outcome assessment at the baseline, post-treatment, 3-month and 6-month after completion of treatment periods.

Significance: This research project contributes to the development of an innovative and manualized Expanded COP group that can easily be implemented at local community mental health services so that hundreds of thousands of people with schizophrenia can benefit from it by facilitating their recovery, including: reducing self-stigma, reducing depressive symptoms, and improving self-esteem.

Work done by the Research Team The research team has validated an assessment scale to measure and investigated self-stigma of Chinese people with mental illness. Also, they have developed COP and cognitive behavioral therapy model which can effectively reduce self-stigma for people with severe mental illness respectively.

Effective start/end date29/06/2128/12/23


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