Schizophrenia Literacy Among Chinese in Shanghai, China: A Comparison with Chinese-Speaking Australians in Melbourne and Chinese in Hong Kong

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Abstract

Objective: The study reported in this paper was aimed at developing understanding of schizophrenia-related knowledge and preferences surrounding professional help, medication, and treatment methods among Chinese living in Shanghai, China.
Method: A multi-stage cluster sampling method in which participants were taken from six of the 20 districts in Shanghai was adopted for this study. The 522 Shanghai Chinese participants were presented with a vignette describing an individual with schizophrenia before being asked questions designed to assess both their understanding of schizophrenia and their preferences surrounding professional help, medication, and treatment methods. A comparative approach was adopted to identify similarities and differences between our findings and those of two previous studies on the mental health literacy of Chinese living in Melbourne, Australia and Hong Kong, respectively.
Results: A lower percentage of Shanghai Chinese than Hong Kong Chinese and Australian Chinese could correctly identify the condition described in the vignette as a case of acute schizophrenia. Although a far lower percentage of Shanghai Chinese endorsed the use of counselling professionals, a much higher percentage of the same group endorsed Chinese medical doctors and herbal medication. A lower percentage of Shanghai Chinese endorsed ?lifestyle changes? as a strategy for dealing with schizophrenia than did Chinese subjects living in Australia and Hong Kong. On the other hand, a higher percentage of Shanghai residents endorsed psychiatric treatment and the traditional Chinese practices of ?eating nutritious food/taking supplements? than among the other two groups of Chinese.
Conclusions: This study highlights the need for educating Chinese in Shanghai to improve their schizophrenia literacy. The contents of the education programmes will need to take into consideration the socially and culturally driven beliefs that may have been influencing the knowledge and preferences of Shanghai Chinese concerning professional help, medication, and treatment methods for people suffering from schizophrenia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-531
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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