Public perceptions toward mental illness in Japan

Asian J Psychiatr. 2018 Jun:35:55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2018.05.021. Epub 2018 May 16.


Aim: The purpose was to characterize public perceptions in Japan of mental illness and how they related to stigma-related attitudes for the same.

Methods: Data were obtained using a vignette survey conducted as a part of the Stigma in Global Context - Mental Health Study and contained a nationally representative sample (n = 994). The survey was conducted using a multi-mode approach (face-to-face interviews, the drop-off-and-pick-up, postal collection) from September to December 2006, with a multi-stage probability sample of Japanese residents aged 18-64 years. Respondents were randomly assigned one of four vignette conditions that described psychiatric disorders meeting the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (one vignette for each gender exhibiting each diagnosis). We compared respondents' stigma-related attitudes and perceptions toward mental illness between vignettes.

Results: Over 80% of Japanese participants believed that depressive disorder or schizophrenia could be cured via treatment. However, Japanese people still had relatively strong vigilance and denial of competency toward schizophrenia.

Conclusions: Participants expressed the belief that mental illnesses are curable, but stigma toward people with schizophrenia was still relatively strong.

Keywords: Depressive disorder; Japan; Mental health; Schizophrenia; Stigma; Stigma-related attitudes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Stigma*
  • Stereotyping*
  • Young Adult