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Association Between Autistic Symptoms and Self-Stigma in Patients with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

Authors Komatsu H, Ono T, Maita Y, Ishida Y, Kikuchi T, Maki T, Hase S, Sakurai H, Oba A, Teshirogi O, Suzuki A, Mori Y, Shoji C, Fujita A, Takahashi S, Ebina T, Ozaki S, Honma R, Tomita H, Kakuto Y

Received 7 September 2020

Accepted for publication 26 September 2020

Published 29 October 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 2553—2561

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S280485

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi


Hiroshi Komatsu,1 Takashi Ono,2 Yoshinori Maita,3 Yusuke Ishida,4 Tatsuo Kikuchi,2 Takahiro Maki,5 Satoshi Hase,6 Hisakazu Sakurai,6 Akiko Oba,5 Osamu Teshirogi,6 Akira Suzuki,3 Yasuko Mori,3 Chikako Shoji,3 Akira Fujita,3 Sachiko Takahashi,3 Takayuki Ebina,3 Shinya Ozaki,3 Ryuta Honma,3 Hiroaki Tomita,7 Yoshihisa Kakuto2

1Department of Psychiatry, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan; 2Department of Psychiatry, Miyagi Psychiatric Center, Natori, Miyagi, Japan; 3Department of Nursing, Miyagi Psychiatric Center, Natori, Miyagi, Japan; 4Department of Pharmacy, Miyagi Psychiatric Center, Natori, Miyagi, Japan; 5Department of Rehabilitation, Miyagi Psychiatric Center, Natori, Miyagi, Japan; 6Department of Social Life Support, Miyagi Psychiatric Center, Natori, Miyagi, Japan; 7Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

Correspondence: Hiroshi Komatsu Department of Psychiatry
Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan
Tel +81-22-717-7262
Fax +81-22-717-7266
Email hkomatsu1019@gmail.com

Purpose: Self-stigma negatively influences self-esteem, quality of life, self-efficacy, treatment adherence, and recovery in psychiatric patients. By revealing personality traits that influence self-stigma, we can gain useful knowledge for the management of self-stigma. A previous meta-analysis indicated that patients with schizophrenia have higher scores on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) than healthy controls. However, the relationship between autistic symptoms and self-stigma in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders remains unclear. Therefore, the present study aimed to reveal the association between autistic symptoms and self-stigma in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Patients and Methods: We recruited 127 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and delusional disorder). We assessed participants’ self-stigma and autistic symptoms using the Internalized Stigma for Mental Illness (ISMI) scale and the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), respectively. The differences in the scores of ISMI and AQ according to patient characteristics were investigated. Multiple regression analysis controlling for age and gender was performed to determine the relationship between the total scores on the AQ and IMSI scale.
Results: Female patients showed a higher level of self-stigma than males. Unmarried patients showed a significantly higher score on the AQ than married patients. Multiple regression analysis adjusted for age and gender indicated that the total score on AQ might be a predictor of the overall rating on ISMI in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Conclusion: This study is the first to reveal the association between autistic symptoms and self-stigma in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Our results highlight the importance of considering autistic symptoms in the assessment and management of self-stigma in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Keywords: schizophrenia spectrum disorders, self-stigma, autistic symptoms, gender difference, marital status

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