Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms. Individuals with schizophrenia (IWS) are often stigmatized and portrayed as dangerous. While the majority of IWS are not dangerous or violent, this image of the dangerous IWS is still pervasive across different cultures. Apart from the individuals who have exhibited antisocial traits prior to the onset of their psychosis, medication can significantly reduce the risk for aggressive and violent behaviors among IWS. However, as the literature reveals, medication noncompliance has become an significant issue among IWS. Studies show that stigmatization of schizophrenia has significantly contributed to individuals not adhering to their medication. The purpose of this literature review was to investigate the relationship between stigma and violence among IWS. However, research for this review revealed that there was limited research linking the relationship between stigma and violence. Furthermore, literature revealed that both stigma and violence were correlated with medication adherence. Research on stigma and medication adherence revealed that IWS who experienced increased stigma regarding schizophrenia, were less likely to adhere to their medication. Additionally, even when treatment was mandatory or heavily regulated (e.g. treatment was supervised and enforced), treatment would yield insignificant results for individuals who felt stigmatized. Furthermore, failure to become fully adherent to schizophrenia treatment increased the risk for IWS to engage in violent behaviors. In conclusion, medication adherence can significantly mitigate the risk for violent behaviors among IWS. It has also been shown through the literature that stigma is negatively associated with medication adherence. Stigma has also been shown to affect treatment efficacy. Because the perception of stigma can significantly impact treatment outcomes, there should be a greater emphasis on stigma in treatment for IWS. Furthermore, because there is limited research on the association between stigma and violent behaviors among IWS, more research on this topic is needed.
School of Behavioral Health
Colleen A. Brenner
Patricia M. Flynn
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Law, Christopher, "The Association Between Stigma and Violence among Individuals with Schizophrenia" (2021). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1169.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives