How Do Patients With Schizophrenia and Their Families Learn About the Diagnosis?

Doron Amsalem, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Doron Gothelf, David Roe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of the present study was to investigate how patients with schizophrenia and their relatives learn about the diagnosis and to study their feelings and degree of satisfaction with the process of delivering that information. Method: A total of 16 individuals who had been recently diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and 15 of their relatives were interviewed. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using grounded theory. Results: Twenty-six (86%) patients and relatives reported having first learned about the diagnosis by reading the patient’s release form or during an incidental encounter with personnel. Most patients and their relatives disagreed with the diagnosis and reported negative feelings about the way in which they learned about it. Only four (14%) patients and relatives fully understood why medications were prescribed. Relatives who received the diagnosis incidentally were more dissatisfied with the disclosure process and had poorer adherence to treatment. Conclusions: Development of empirical-based guidelines for delivering difficult news in psychiatry is needed to improve the way of communicating the diagnosis to patients and their relatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-287
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©, © Washington School of Psychiatry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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