Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 329–340 | Cite as

Violence Towards Family Caregivers by Their Relative with Schizophrenia in Japan

  • Masako KageyamaEmail author
  • Phyllis Solomon
  • Keiko Yokoyama
  • Yukako Nakamura
  • Sayaka Kobayashi
  • Chiyo Fujii
Original Paper


There have been several violence-related deaths in Japan due to family violence by persons with severe mental illness against their caregivers. However, it is not often acknowledged that these violent acts are mainly directed at family members. This study aimed to clarify what acts of violence family caregivers experienced from their relative with schizophrenia, and how frequently these violent incidents occurred in their lifetime. We also examined caregivers’ thoughts of death about themselves and their relatives, as well as their consultation efforts and escape from the violence perpetrated by their relative. Of the 277 caregivers, 87.7% had experienced psychological violence and 75.8% had experienced physical violence perpetrated by their relative. Of 210 caregivers who had experienced physical violence, 26.7% had thought of murder-suicide and 31.0% had wished for their relative’s death. Family violence by persons with schizophrenia is not rare but a common occurrence in Japan and may have fatal consequences.


Violence Parents Schizophrenia Mental disorders Suicide Homicide 



We wish to thank all research participants for their time and care in responding to our questionnaire. MK, PS, KY, andYN designed the research project. PS, SK, and CF advised on the interpretations of results. All authors approved the final draft. We disclose receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The first author received financial support from the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education (No. B-016, 2014–2015) for the research and publication of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Ethical considerations. The Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Tokyo approved the study (February 24, 2014; No. 10,415). The respondents’ anonymity and confidentiality were maintained as we could not determine the identity of the household or the name of the individual respondent. The completion and return of the questionnaire was considered an indication of consent to participate.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion ScienceOsaka University Graduate School of MedicineOsakaJapan
  2. 2.School of Social Policy & PracticeUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health SciencesSaitama Prefectural UniversitySaitamaJapan
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatrySaitama Medical University Saitama Medical CenterSaitamaJapan
  6. 6.Department of Psychiatric RehabilitationNational Institute of Mental HealthKodaira CityJapan

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