The prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia are nonspecific
and include social withdrawal, sleeplessness, decreased desire, and loss of
concentration. Schizophrenia outcomes might be improved if greater therapeutic
effort was focused on people with prodromal symptoms. To hasten help-seeking
for schizophrenia, we developed a schizophrenia education program for families
of patients. Help-seeking and schizophrenia attitudes and knowledge were analyzed among Japanese parents (666 fathers and 613 mothers) of high school
students by using the Social Distance Scale-Japanese version, the Link
Devaluation-Discrimination Measure and our own questions on help-seeking and
schizophrenia knowledge. Statistical analysis included cross-tabulation, the χ2 test, and multiple regression analysis. Most (97.5%) fathers
were aged 40 - 59 years; most (78.3%) mothers were aged 40 - 49 years. There
was a significant difference between fathers and mothers in basic knowledge
of schizophrenia (P < 0.001); however, fathers and mothers did not
significantly differ in their attitudes toward schizophrenia (P > 0.05).
When asked what treatment they would seek for a child with sleeplessness or
social withdrawal, fathers and mothers significantly differed in seeking help
medical care at a department of psychosomatic medicine (P < 0.05) and in
seeking help from the nurse at their child’s school (P < 0.001). Fathers and
mothers also differed in relation to the decision not to seek help (P < 0.001).
Multiple regression analysis revealed that basic knowledge significantly
differed between fathers and mothers (P = 0.001). In an analysis of
parental response to a child with sleepiness and social withdrawal, multiple
regression analysis revealed that fathers and mothers significantly differed in
the likelihood of seeking help at a department of psychosomatic medicine and
from a school nurse and in the likelihood of not seeking help (P < 0.05, P =
0.001 and P = 0.001, respectively). In conclusion, help-seeking behavior
differed between Japanese fathers and mothers. These findings should assist
in developing schizophrenia education programs that aim to hasten intervention.
Cite this paper
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