Social Aspects of the Quality of Life of Persons Suffering from Schizophrenia


Background: Several studies have shown that persons with schizophrenia (PWS) suffer from severely reduced quality of life (QoL). Impaired social functioning is a defining characteristic of schizophrenia (SZ) and social cognition deficits affect interpersonal relations and outcomes such as independent living, vocational functioning and employment status. Some studies have demonstrated important socio-cultural aspects of SZ, for instance by examining experiences of SZ in different developing countries and among minority groups in the Western world. The socio-cultural context is central to understanding patients’ experiences in any society, however. Using an anthropological approach, we use qualitative research methods to examine patient perspectives on SZ. Sampling and Methods: In-depth qualitative interviews are carried out with SZ patients in France, the UK and the USA representing diversity in Western mental health systems. Results: To the participants, the most important QoL aspects are close relations and support from loved ones, a safe home and comfort zone, and meaningful daily activities. Normalisation and independence act as central themes to patients’ QoL and hopes for social integration. The participants need a buffer zone consisting of social relations, a home and daily occupation that is flexible and may balance issues of equality/inequality, abnormality/normality, and dependence/independence. Conclusion: By using participatory methods, PWS may be involved in shaping their own treatment and recovery plans based on what is subjectively meaningful and beneficial to their mental health. QoL and functioning are closely linked to the socio-cultural context in which health care structures go hand in hand with health care cultures that shape patients’ expectations and preferences.

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Mortensen, G. , De, J. , Holme, M. , Neve, T. , Torell, P. and Eberhard, J. (2016) Social Aspects of the Quality of Life of Persons Suffering from Schizophrenia. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 6, 50-60. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2016.61005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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