JOURNAL ARTICLE

The impact of the social network, stigma and empowerment on the quality of life in patients with schizophrenia

I Sibitz, M Amering, A Unger, M E Seyringer, A Bachmann, B Schrank, T Benesch, B Schulze, A Woppmann
European Psychiatry: the Journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists 2011, 26 (1): 28-33
21036554

OBJECTIVE: The quality of life (QOL) of patients with schizophrenia has been found to be positively correlated with the social network and empowerment, and negatively correlated with stigma and depression. However, little is known about the way these variables impact on the QOL. The study aims to test the hypothesis that the social network, stigma and empowerment directly and indirectly by contributing to depression influence the QOL in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders.

METHOD: Data were collected on demographic and clinical variables, internalized stigma, perceived devaluation and discrimination, empowerment, control convictions, depression and QOL. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was applied to examine the impact of the above-mentioned constructs on QOL.

RESULTS: The influences of the social network, stigma, empowerment and depression on QOL were supported by the SEM. A poor social network contributed to a lack of empowerment and stigma, which resulted in depression and, in turn, in poor QOL. Interestingly, however, the social network and stigma did not show a direct effect on QOL.

CONCLUSION: Following a recovery approach in mental health services by focusing on the improvement of the social network, stigma reduction and especially on the development of personal strength has the potential to reduce depression in patients with psychosis and improving their QOL.

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