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Long-term effect of a name change for schizophrenia on reducing stigma



A name change for schizophrenia was first implemented in Japan for reducing stigma in 2002; however, little is known of its long-term impact.


Total 259 students from 20 universities answered an anonymous self-administered questionnaire about their mental health-related experiences, and stigma scales including feasible knowledge and negative stereotypes for four specific diseases, including schizophrenia (old and new names), depression, and diabetes mellitus. We also asked to choose the old and new names of schizophrenia and dementia among ten names for mental and physical illnesses and conditions.


The participants had more feasible knowledge and fewer negative stereotypes for the new name of schizophrenia than the old name, but were still significantly worse than for depression and diabetes mellitus (p < 0.01). Direct contact experiences with those who have mental health problems were associated with feasible knowledge for schizophrenia but not negative stereotypes (β = 0.13, p = 0.020). The rate of correct responses for the old and new names of schizophrenia was significantly lower than that of dementia (41 vs. 87 %, p < 0.001). Mental health-related experience from media was associated with the recognition of name change for schizophrenia (p = 0.008), which was associated with less feasible knowledge for new name of schizophrenia.


The name change of schizophrenia has reduced stigma since 12 years have passed. More effective campaigns, educational curricula, and policy making are needed to reduce stigma toward schizophrenia.

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I would like to thank Ryoko Anazawa, Kazusa Ohta, Sho Kanata, Mika Yamagishi, and Eriko Ichikawa for substantial support of data collection in this study. This study was supported by grants from the JSPS/MEXT (No. 25870143, 26118703, and Strategic Young Researcher Overseas Visits Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation), Takeda Science Foundation, and the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education to SK.

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflict of interest in this study.

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Correspondence to Shinsuke Koike.

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Koike, S., Yamaguchi, S., Ojio, Y. et al. Long-term effect of a name change for schizophrenia on reducing stigma. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 50, 1519–1526 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-015-1064-8

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  • Stigma
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stereotyping
  • Name change
  • Terminology