Survey of Russians’ attitude to people with schizophrenia

Every fourth Russian is afraid of people with mental disorders


The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) has presented research on Russians’ attitude to people with schizophrenia.

As the survey showed, the majority of respondents said that they were sympathetic to (38%) and pitied (34%) people with mental disorders. This is true predominantly amongst the older generation (in the over 60s group – 48% and 39% respectively).

But every fourth respondent (26%) admitted to being afraid of people with mental disorders and every fifth (18%) mentioned that they did not trust them. 9% of respondents believe that society treats such people with contempt.

The sociologists emphasised that the survey also showed a high level of awareness amongst Russians about schizophrenia. 20% of those surveyed said that they know the symptoms of the illness well, another 70% have general knowledge about schizophrenia. Every fifth person (20%) knows of someone with schizophrenia in their surroundings.

At the same time, amongst those who know or have heard about schizophrenia, one in two believes that the likelihood of sickness is increased if relatives suffer from it (49%).

Respondents indicated strong mood swings (29%) and hallucinations (17%) as being among the signs of schizophrenia. At the same time, the image of a patient with schizophrenia was quite contradictory: on the one hand, they are seen in a negative light as a threat, but at the same time also as weak and in need of attention.


According to 38% of respondents (the question was only posed to those who knew about the condition), people with schizophrenia should be kept away from other people. Yet amongst those who said they had relatives or acquaintances with schizophrenia, the proportion of people with such an opinion remained at 31%.

According to respondents, the main problems facing people with mental disorders are difficulties with employment (40%), securing essential medication (33%), insufficient qualification of medical staff (31%), as well as negative societal attitudes (31%). Respondents who said they had relatives with schizophrenia  named difficulties with medication as the biggest issue (45%).

The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) carried out the survey in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Gedeon Richter. The research was carried out in November 2018. The survey was carried out via telephone by a stratified double baseline random sample of 1600 landlines and mobile numbers.


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