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Revista de la Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 2340-2733Print version ISSN 0211-5735


PEREZ ALVAREZ, Candela et al. Schizophrenia in the press: does social stigma continue?. Rev. Asoc. Esp. Neuropsiq. [online]. 2015, vol.35, n.128, pp.721-730. ISSN 2340-2733.

Introduction: mass media is a major source of information about mental health and its attitude can be a determinant for stigmatization. The objective of this study was to examine the use of the term "schizophrenia" in print media. Methods: A search of posted news including the word "schizophrenia" was done through digital finders of six Spanish newspapers. Articles where the term "schizophrenia" had a metaphoric use were separated. Articles referred to the disorder were divided in five groups according to their content. Articles related to criminal acts were analyzed more deeply. Results: 497 articles were examined. In 126 (25,4%) the use of "schizophrenia" was metaphoric. From the remaining (371), 143 (38,5%) were about criminal acts, 105 (28,3%) about science popularization, 40 (10,8%) mentioned people with schizophrenia, 37 (10%) were about lack of health resources and stigma, 46 (12,4%) about other issues. In news about criminal acts, people with schizophrenia were victims in 16,1% and offenders in 83,9%, and stigmatizing expressions were used with relative frequency. Conclusions: The press tends to show disproportionately negative stories about people who suffer from schizophrenia. Furthermore, the word "schizophrenia" is used in a denigrating manner quite often, contributing to stigma around the term.

Keywords : schizophrenia; newspapers; mental health; social stigma; mass media; stereotyping; violence.

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