In professional and social situations, professional actors simulating tardive dyskinesia (TD) movements were perceived less positively than those without TD movements, according to a study published in Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience. In an experimental, randomized, blinded, digital survey in a general population sample, Stanley N. Caroff, MD and colleagues evaluated others’ perceptions of abnormal TD movements in employment, dating, and social domains.

The researchers randomized participants 1:1 into a test or control group to watch a video of a professional actor simulating TD movements or no TD movements. Following the video, 2,400 individuals completed surveys on employment, friendship, and dating for mild-to-moderate and moderate-to-severe TD.


Participants Responded Significantly Less Favorably to Those With TD

Dr. Caroff and colleagues observed that in all domains, participants responded considerably less favorably to those with TD movements (both mild-to-moderate and moderate-to-severe) than those without.

“Fewer participants in the test versus control group for mild-to-moderate and moderate-to-severe TD, respectively, considered the candidate as a potential employee (29.2% and 22.7% fewer), found him/her attractive (20.5% and 18.7% fewer), and were interested in becoming friends with him/her (12.3% and 16.5% fewer),” Dr. Caroff noted.


Critical Need for Effective Therapies That Lessen TD Movements

This is believed to be the first randomized study to quantify professional and social stigma linked with TD movements, according to the study authors. “It is crucial to understand the impact of TD movements on patients’ social and professional lives,” Dr. Caroff said. “Our research highlights the importance of broadening the ways in which the impact of TD is measured and how this can be leveraged to avoid delays in diagnosis.”

He added that the study also emphasizes the critical need for new therapies that lessen TD symptoms, while allowing patients to manage their underlying psychiatric disorders.”