Use of the word schizophrenia in Portuguese newspapers.
Rodrigues-Silva N., Falcão de Almeida T., Araújo F., Molodynski A., Venâncio Â., Bouça J.
BACKGROUND: Stigmatizing references to schizophrenia have a negative impact on self-esteem, deter treatment seeking and diminish the effectiveness of treatment. AIMS: To analyze the reporting of schizophrenia in Portuguese newspapers. METHOD: We analyzed five high circulation Portuguese newspapers between 2007 and 2013. We selected all news containing the word "esquizofrenia" (schizophrenia). Several variables were collected. RESULTS: About 1058 news items contained the word schizophrenia. Schizophrenia was mentioned metaphorically in 40% of the cases and in the context of Crime in 22%. When used in a Criminal context, schizophrenia was mostly attributed to people who were the perpetrators of the crime (93%). When used metaphorically, schizophrenia had a negative connotation in 90% of cases. We found an increasing reporting of schizophrenia in the criminal news and serious crimes. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest the media has an active role promoting stigma, as well as passively broadcasting and thus passing on prejudices.