Knowledge and Attitudes about Schizophrenia among Employers in Japan

  •  Hatsumi Yoshii    
  •  Norika Mitsunaga    
  •  Hidemitsu Saito    


PURPOSE: A high percentage of schizophrenia patients cannot find work. If these patients are to find long-term employment, it is essential that employers understand schizophrenia. Therefore, this study aimed to assess knowledge and attitudes about schizophrenia among employers in Japan.

METHODS: A total of 1877 executives were recruited from private companies to examine knowledge and attitudes about schizophrenia, awareness of employment support, and likelihood of hiring schizophrenic patients. Higher scores indicated greater knowledge and/or higher levels of stigma.

RESULTS: Small-scale entrepreneurs were significantly less likely to believe that they might be able to employ a schizophrenia patient. They tended to regard mentally ill people, including schizophrenia patients, as dangerous, despite having little or no contact with them. Basic knowledge of schizophrenia was significantly higher (p = 0.001) and average scores on a number of attitude measures significantly lower (p = 0.001) for employers who said they might employ people with schizophrenia than those that didn’t. More than 83.5% of respondents were unaware of support available for people with mental illnesses. Half expressed desire for support from outside agencies in hiring and ongoing employment of people with schizophrenia.

CONCLUSIONS: This study identified a particular group of employers who were very unlikely to employ anyone with schizophrenia. This might enable targeted interventions to change attitudes among this group. Also found was a widespread lack of knowledge of support available for employers and employees, suggesting that more public information about this may be helpful in increasing employment among those with mental health problems.

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