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The Invisibility of Violence Against Women Diagnosed With Schizophrenia: A Synthesis of Perspectives

Rice, Elizabeth PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/01.ANS.0000319568.91631.98
Article Available Online Only for the April–June Issue

Women diagnosed with severe mental illness experience twice the rates of violence compared with women without mental illness. Despite awareness of violence, mental healthcare providers feel powerless to combat the problem. This article synthesizes 2 previous interpretive studies that examined violence perpetrated against women diagnosed with schizophrenia. This synthesis critically examines the perspectives of women who experience violence and schizophrenia and case managers who care for them. Stigma was an overarching theme in participants' stories but each group differed in its understanding of how stigma impacted women's lives. This disconnection perpetuates stigma and allows violence to remain invisible.

Women diagnosed with severe mental health illness experience twice the rates of violence compared with women without mental illness. This synthesis of 2 studies critically examines the perspectives of women who experience violence and schizophrenia and the case managers who care for them. Stigma was an overarching theme in participants' stories, but each group differed in its understanding of how stigma impacted women's lives. This disconnection perpetuates stigma and allows violence to remain invisible.

College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Corresponding Author: Elizabeth Rice, PhD, RN Cunningham Hall, Room 613, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 (ricee@uwm.edu).

Funding for this study was provided by Sigma Theta Tau.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.