256846 ²Face² and the manifestation of stigma among Chinese immigrants with schizophrenia: A qualitative investigation

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Nina Huynh, MPH, CPH , Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Kara Morita, MA , Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Valerie Wai-Yee Jackson, MPH , Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Francisco, CA
Mariella Saavedra, BA , Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Kristy Nguyen, MA , Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background: “Face” is a Chinese specific concept that represents a person's moral status in their local world. It has a regulatory role in Chinese society and fundamentally impacts how stigma is experienced. In the Chinese socio-cultural context, stigma undermines an individual's sense of self and access to social resources, which causes an individual to lose “face”. Therefore, loss of “face” due to mental illness severely threatens ‘what matters most' to the individual. Objective: To examine how stigma manifests itself in Chinese immigrants with schizophrenia, and how it relates to “face”. Methods: Participants were recruited from two Chinese-English bilingual psychiatric inpatient units in NYC. Participants were diagnosed with psychosis using DSM-IV-TR Diagnosis Structural Clinical Interview (SCID or SCID-Chinese version). Interviews were conducted in an open-manner to survey experiences of stigma. Qualitative analyses were conducted by four highly trained coders with high interrater agreement (>80%). Results: When loss of “face” occurred, stigmatized individuals perceived their access to social capital as profoundly diminished. Loss of “face” was linked to lack of access to employment and marriage opportunities. Participants consistently attributed their illness as a barrier to earning money and to attaining moral standing in the community. Difficulty with establishing and maintaining intimate relationships was also expressed. Discussion: Knowledge regarding the social consequences of stigma and its impact on ‘what matters most' to this Chinese immigrant group emphasizes the importance of developing anti-stigma interventions that aim to restore one's moral status (“face”). Such focal approaches may be essential in countering culture-specific effects of stigma.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Chinese cultural concept of "face". List the social consequences as a result of losing "face".

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduate student in clinical psychology, and I am working on research related to stigma, Asian Americans, and barriers to care for individuals with mental illness. I have previously presented on the topic of "face" and stigma associated with mental illness in Chinese Americans.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.