Schizophrenia is one of the most stigmatized mental disorders. In 2014, schizophrenia was renamed in Mandarin in Taiwan, from the old name of “mind-splitting disease” to new name “disorder with dysfunction of thought and perception”, in an attempt to reduce the stigmatization of schizophrenia. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the effects of renaming schizophrenia on its stigma in nursing students. We examined the public stigma, self-stigma, and social distance associated with schizophrenia and compared them before and after the renaming. Basic demographic data and previous contact experience were collected, and participants completed a modified Attribution Questionnaire, the Perceived Psychiatric Stigma Scale, and modified Social Distance Scale. The final sample comprised 99 participants. Assessment revealed that the renaming significantly reduced public stigma, self-stigma, and social distance. Regarding the old and new names for schizophrenia, the fourth-year nursing students scored significantly higher on public stigma and self-stigma than did the first-year students. Personal exposure to individuals diagnosed with mental disorders reduced public stigma toward schizophrenia. The study findings suggest that the renaming of schizophrenia reduced its associated stigma. Providing accurate information, instruction by qualified tutors, as well as exposure to patients in acute exacerbation in hospital settings and recovered patients in the community are important. Further studies with longitudinal design, participants from diverse backgrounds, and larger sample sizes to investigate the effect of renaming on the stigma toward schizophrenia are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3563
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Nursing students
  • Renaming
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social distance
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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