Renaming – a cure for stigma?

2009 April 24
by moritherapy

Ian sent us this very interesting link:

Impact of changing the Japanese term for “schizophrenia” for reasons of stereotypical beliefs of schizophrenia in Japanese youth

Hidehiko Takahashia, Takashi Idenoc, Shigetaka Okuboc, et al.


The old term for schizophrenia, “Seishin-Bunretsu-Byo” (Mind-Split Disease), has been replaced by “Togo-Shitcho-Sho” (Integration Disorder) in Japan. Stigma research requiring individuals to report personal beliefs is useful but is subject to social desirability bias. Using the Implicit Association Test, a measurement designed to minimize this bias, we assessed the impact of this renaming on the stereotype of schizophrenia held by a younger generation. The old term was strongly associated with “criminal”, and this association became significantly weaker with the new term. The strategy of renaming holds considerable promise for tempering negative bias toward this disorder in Japan.

One Response leave one →
  1. 2009 April 25

    Whether or not renaming of disorders solely in itself can be said to be a cure for stigma i believe it can be helpful. The term “bipolar disorder” in English can be said to have a less emotive and stigmatizing than the formerly used “manic-depressive disorder” The old diagnostic term in Japanese “Seishin-Bunretsu-Byo”, often shortened in everyday conversation to “Bunretsu-byo”, had the very strong negative connotations such as criminally insane and in some members of the public mind even as far as being associated with dangerous crazy people. “Bunretsu-byo” could be translated as “split-personality”.

    This link is to a top Japanese – English translation website (hope it does not get lost in translation) which just produced some of the translations for “bunretsu” as shown below it:

    The word “bunretsu” itself has meaning of splitting //breakup // cleavage // cleaving // disintegration // disjunction // disorganization // disruption // disunion // divide // division // fission // fissuration // fissure // fragmentation // partition // rent // schism // scissure // split // split-up

    1. disunite
    2. ramify
    3. schismatize
    4. segmentalize

    dissever, disrupter

    The new and much more widely used term by mental health professionals in Japan of “Togo-Shitcho-Sho” (Integration Disorder or Schizophrenia) is now gaining more acceptance and understanding in everyday conversation in Japan. This has taken place since the change of term from “Seishin-Bunretsu-Byo” to “Togo-Shitcho-Sho” was officially announced at the 12th World Congress of Psychiatry Yokohama Japan between August 24th – 29th 2002:

    Best regards from Japan

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