Objective: A descriptive study in which the audience profile of patients suffering from schizophrenia, their families and caregivers was determined to establish whether information on schizophrenia is disseminated effectively. This is an ongoing project aimed at designing appropriate psychoeducational material on schizophrenia using the audience-based media production approach.
Method: A Qualitative research method using screening interviews, focus groups discussions and participant observation. Undertaken at Weskoppies Hospital, Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa. Using Sotho-speaking patients and their families from the greater Tshwane region. Three researchers from the Departments of Psychiatry and Information Science at the University of Pretoria facilitated four focus groups comprising of 18 participants. A schedule was used to guide the discussions and after each focus group, emergent themes were identified and analysed. Tape recordings and written notes were used to capture information. These were later transcribed and used for data analysis. The participants were asked to indicate how they understand schizophrenia and how living with this disorder influences their lives.
Results: It seems that information about schizophrenia is not effectively disseminated to this group. Myths about the disorder prevail. The majority of the participants did not understand what schizophrenia is. The participants' perceptions regarding schizophrenia reflected the influence of their culture, religion and their experiences of stigmatization by the society in which they live.
Conclusion: In the endeavor to effectively disseminate information about schizophrenia to patients and care givers, the prevalent top-down approach should be replaced by a more participatory approach where the target audience is consulted and involved in the process of psycho-education.
Declaration of interest: None.