Author: Chan, Yue-kuen Estella
Title: An exploratory study on the subjective experience of Schizophrenia from a non-representative sample of 12 Chinese with Schizophrenia in Hong Kong
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2004
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Schizophrenia -- China -- Hong Kong
Schizophrenics -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: 351, [49] leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Through in-depth interviews, I aim at exploring how Chinese make meaning and cope with schizophrenia, and how Chinese cultural beliefs influence their meaning making and coping with the illness. This study showed that respondents' subjective experiences of schizophrenia could be rendered intelligible and their psychotic symptoms appeared to be expressions of their inner psychological states. To a certain extent, their psychotic symptoms could be viewed as strategies for coping with those frustrations and failures they experienced in their life situations, and as means for fulfilling those needs which could not be satisfied in the real world. Respondents were found adopting multiple causal explanations and coping strategies in dealing with schizophrenia. Their understanding of and explanations for mental illness and their coping response were, to a large extent, shaped by Chinese cultural beliefs about mental illness. Respondents not uncommonly reported to use Western psychiatric treatment, traditional Chinese religious healing and other folk practices simultaneously, and they saw no conflict in employing these different modes of treatment at the same time. Some respondents perceived mental problems as similar to those of physiological problems. They commonly used somatic terms to describe their suffering with schizophrenia and appreciated the value of psychiatric medication in treating their physical complaints caused by mental illness. As with their reported illness consequences - difficulty in getting married and impaired vocational and economic functioning, respondents mainly resorted to supernatural means, and/or rationalised their failure in these aspects with their illness and the stigma attached to mental illness. This study has generated some implications for social work practice in the mental health field. There also gained some insights into indigenizing psychiatric rehabilitation interventions in working with Chinese patients.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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