Subjective experience of patients with schizophrenia participating in arts involving activities at a specialized psychiatric hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: A Qualitative study

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


Arts therapies have positive effects on psychotic symptoms, psychosocial functioning and the ability to mentalize in patients with schizophrenia (3). These therapiesare not formally practiced by trained art therapists in Ethiopia however the term ‘arts involving activities’ is used in this paper to describe interventions that promote the experience of creative artistic activities such as painting and drawing, dancing, music and drama. In our country, Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital is the only psychiatric specialized hospital that provides art involving activities, and thesubjective experiences of patients with schizophrenia participating in such activities are not yet explored. Statement of the problem Patients’ subjective experiences of participating in arts involving activities are unexplored. Research question What is participants’ understanding of the reasons for participating in arts involving activities? What do participants enjoy/ like about, not like/ avoid from the activities and what are their respective reasons? What are participants’ perceived benefits from the activities and their opinions regarding the service they were involved in? Method An exploratory qualitative research design was used. In-depth interviews with the use of prepared topic guides were conducted after obtaining consent form each participant. We involved 18 patients with the diagnosis of schizophrenia who fulfilled inclusion criteria. Data was recorded, transcribed verbatim, translated into English, coded and thematically analyzed. Results Majority of patients reported having mental illness and need for treatment as their reason of admission; getting entertainment and happiness was reported as their reason of participation in rehabilitation center. Significant number of patients reported positive experiences by participating in arts involving activities. Few of patients reported their negative experiences in their participation of specific arts involving activities. Majority of patients reported positive outcomes but no negative outcome from their participation. Our findings indicate postitive impact of arts involving activities on their mood, communication skills, social engagement, overcoming stigma, physical health and on their motivation to take role for their recovery. Nearly all of them were content with the service provision with some indicating room for improvement. Conclusion In treatment of schizophrenia, focus on the patient as a whole rather than symptom reduction is required to facilitate the process of recovery.



psychotic symptoms