Background: Stigma affects patients with schizophrenia and may influence perceptions of the illness, which may affect how family members interact with and care for these patients. Purpose: The aims of this study were to (a) explore the relationship between perceptions of schizophrenia and the negative emotions of family members within the context of an affiliate stigma model, and (b) validate the proposed affiliate stigma model. Methods: A cross-sectional design was used. Eligibility for participation was limited to the relatives of patients with schizophrenia. The participants were recruited from two regional psychiatric hospitals in central Taiwan. The study was approved by an Institutional Review Board, and all potential participants signed informed consent before enrollment. Sixty-two participants completed the set of self-administered questionnaires, including (a) a demographic questionnaire, (b) Affiliate Stigma Scale, and (c) the Illness Perception Questionnaire for Schizophrenia-Relatives version. Canonical correlations and structural equation modeling in STATISTICA 6.0 were used to validate the model of illness perceptions and negative emotions. Results: (a) There were three domains of perception regarding schizophrenia for the relatives of patients: disease chronicity, disease in control, and disease treatability. The correlation between these dimensions and negative emotion was r =.42. (b) The adjusted goodness of fit for the proposed affiliate stigma model was.79. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the affiliate stigma model is an appropriate resource for developing practical disease management strategies for the relatives of patients with schizophrenia.
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