Attitudes towards and beliefs about schizophrenia in Xhosa families with affected probands

Mbanga, N. I. ; Niehaus, D. J. H. ; Mzamo, N. C. ; Wessels, C. J. ; Allen, A. ; Emsley, R. A. ; Stein, D. J. (2002-09-27)

CITATION: Mbanga, N. I. et al. 2002. Attitudes towards and beliefs about schizophrenia in Xhosa families with affected probands. Curationis, 25(1):69-73. doi:10.4102/curationis.v25i1.718.

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Objective: The development of effective psychoeducational programs for the management of schizophrenia requires an understanding of attitudes towards and beliefs about the disorder in families of affected probands. In order to establish the need for adaptation of Western psychoeducational programs, these variables were investigated in Xhosa speaking families in South Africa. Design: Xhosa speaking family members of patients with DSM-IV schizophrenia were recruited on a voluntary basis, and interviewed with a structured belief and attitudes questionnaire adapted from previous studies in the West. Setting: The study population was drawn from both urban and rural Xhosa communities in South Africa. Subjects: 100 Xhosa speaking family members participated in the study. Results: Family members most often recommended treatment with psychotropic medications (88%) and traditional healers (32%), and least often recommended psychotherapy (4%) and meditation (1%). Of the respondents who recommended traditional healing methods, 92% also recommended simultaneous use of allopathic treatment. Conclusion: Attitudes towards and beliefs about schizophrenia in family members of patients with schizophrenia may differ substantially from those described in previous work in the West. An understanding of local attitudes and beliefs is crucial for the successful development of local psychoeducational programs.

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