Asian Journal of Counselling

Diagnostic Nondisclosure of Schizophrenia to Chinese American Patients

2008.第15卷第1期(Vol. 15 No. 1).pp. 1–31

Diagnostic Nondisclosure of Schizophrenia to Chinese American Patients


Wei-Chin HWANG(黃威誠)


If a patient is diagnosed with schizophrenia, should the mental health practitioner disclose the patient’s diagnosis? What role might culture play in influencing this decision-making process? When mental health practitioners do not tell a patient his or her diagnosis, are they being more culturally sensitive and competent or are they feeding into cultural stereotypes and misconceptions? This article examines the controversial issue of diagnostic disclosure and why practitioners may be hesitant to reveal diagnosis of schizophrenia to their Chinese American patients. The impact of the patient’s ethnic background on diagnostic disclosure or nondisclosure and practitioner biases are discussed. In addition, results from interviews with four Chinese American psychiatrists are presented as illustrative examples of the diversity of beliefs, opinions, and practices that exist among mental health professionals. Practical implications and recommendations for addressing cultural issues in relation to diagnostic disclosure are provided.