Hong Kong Med J 2012;18:381–7 | Number 5, October 2012
Prospective cross-sectional study using questionnaire to assess the effect of a different nomenclature for psychiatric illnesses on the perception of these diseases by university students
Jerome Lau, LS Kam, YM Tsang, Boris CK Chow, YY Fang, KW Lam, YT Lam, YY Li, Cally HS Wong
Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To assess the effect of a difference in nomenclature for psychiatric illness on perceptions of university students.
DESIGN. Cross-sectional study.
SETTING. Three local universities in Hong Kong.
PARTICIPANTS. A total of 201 university students (undergraduates or postgraduates) were interviewed with a questionnaire.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Score difference between the new and old nomenclature of each disease for each question of the questionnaire, using a 5-point Likert scale and an integrated score difference for each disease.
RESULTS. Of the seven diseases investigated, six yielded a significant yet mild increase in positive perceptions with the new nomenclature. These diseases included schizophrenia (integrated score difference: +0.158, P<0.001), neurasthenia (integrated score difference: +0.117, P<0.001), paranoia (integrated score difference: +0.209, P<0.001), personality disorder (integrated score difference: +0.282, P<0.001), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (integrated score difference: +0.086, P=0.005), and bipolar disorder (integrated score difference: +0.154, P<0.001). Epilepsy showed a negative perception with its new nomenclature (integrated score difference: -0.119, P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS. The new nomenclature system for psychiatric diseases achieves more positive perceptions among the university students than the old nomenclature. Epilepsy was the exception for which the old nomenclature conferred a more positive perception. Further studies on this topic involving a more general population should be advocated to confirm the improvements in perception with the new naming system for psychiatric diseases.
Key words: Hong Kong; Psychotic disorders; Stereotyping; Terminology as topic; Translating
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