Perceived Stigma and Burden in Tunisian Natural Caregivers of Patients with SchizophreniaAuthor(s): Znaidi Farah, Ellouze Sahar*, Jenhani Rim, Bougacha Dhouha, Aloulou Jihen and Ghachem Rym
Natural caregivers of patients with schizophrenia are often subjected to stigma by virtue of their association with patients. This study aimed to assess perceived stigma and burden among natural caregivers of patients with schizophrenia. We conducted a cross-sectional, descriptive and analytical study, including 80 natural caregivers of patients with schizophrenia. We used the Stigma Devaluation Scale (SDS) to assess stigma and the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) to evaluate burden. The average age of natural caregivers was 55.7 years. The sex ratio (M/F) was 0.86. The mean score of perceived stigma in patients was 24.7. That of perceived stigma in caregivers was 15.34. Medium to high burden was found in 77.5% of participants. Perceived stigma scores were significantly higher among illiterate caregivers, those linking schizophrenia to hereditary causes, among parents, and in case of daily contact with the patient. Scores of perceived stigma in caregivers were also significantly correlated with burden score and patient self-stigma sub score. Natural caregivers of patients with schizophrenia are exposed to affiliate stigma, and experience an important level of burden. Our findings emphasize the need to develop strategies to combat stigmatization among patients, but also their natural caregivers.