Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
May 19, 2021
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Brief video intervention may reduce schizophrenia stigma

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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A video-based intervention for young adults appeared effective at humanizing schizophrenia and reducing stigma surrounding the diagnosis, according to results of a randomized controlled trial published in American Journal of Psychiatry.

The current study built upon the researchers’ proof-of-concept study that was the first to demonstrate lower rates of stigma linked to a 90-second video-based intervention compared with written vignette and control groups, as well as the first to utilized so brief an anti-stigma intervention.

infographic with data on video to reduce schizophrenia stigma
Infographic data derived from: Amsalem D, et al. Am J Psychiatry. 2021;doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20091293.

“After initial efforts to create the video, conducting such an intervention requires minimal resources, and it can be easily disseminated and reach a wide audience,” Doron Amsalem, MD, of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and department of psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and colleagues wrote. “However, the study lacked a baseline assessment, precluding direct measurement of actual change, and lacked follow-up retesting to assess its durability. To address these limitations, we designed a randomized controlled replication study with assessments at baseline, after the intervention and at 30-day follow-up.”

The researchers used a crowdsourcing platform to recruit 1,055 participants aged 18 to 30 years whom they assigned to either a brief video-based intervention, a written vignette intervention that had the same material or to a nonintervention control condition. The 90-second video intervention featured a 22-year-old African American woman with schizophrenia who humanized the condition via an emotional description of living a life with meaning and productivity.

Findings of a three-by-three group-by-time multivariate analysis of variance demonstrated that the total scores of all five domains related to stigma had a significant group-by-time interaction. The domains included social distance, stereotyping, separateness, social restriction and perceived recovery. The video intervention group exhibited greater reductions vs. the vignette and control groups at the postintervention and 30-day follow-up assessments, and the vignette group exhibited differences from the control group at the postintervention but not at the 30-day assessment, according to results of post hoc pairwise tests.

“A 90-second video humanized schizophrenia and reduced stigma, suggesting its potential to increase the likelihood of seeking care and, ultimately, to improve access to treatment among young people with first-episode psychosis and schizophrenia,” Amsalem and colleagues wrote. “Future research should address gender, race and ethnic differences and determine whether it is possible to further reduce video length without reducing efficacy.”