Quality of Life Is a Strong Predictor of Schizophrenia Relapse

Although there are many different symptoms and severities of schizophrenia, most individuals with schizophrenia experience a significant decline in their quality of a life as a result. Even when they are able to enjoy long periods of relatively stable quality of life and remission from symptoms, the threat of relapse is always present. The mental functioning of a client is one indication of quality of life (QoL), but physical functioning is another. According to the results of a recent study conducted by Laurent Boyer of Aix-Marseille University Research Unit in France, physical functioning is one factor that could more strongly be associated with QoL for people with schizophrenia, and therefore, could be a more accurate predictor of relapse.

In the study, Boyer used the Short Form 36 Mental (SF36-MCS) and Physical (SF36PCS) Component Scales and the QoLI to measure functioning and quality of life in over 1,000 clients with schizophrenia. The participants were evaluated at baseline and assessed again 24 months later. Boyer found that over half of the participants had at least one episode of relapse while 47% had not relapsed at all during the 24-month period. The results revealed that QoL was the strongest predictor of relapse, with low QoL increasing the odds of relapse significantly. Also, the older participants who were more compliant with treatment and had better functioning were less likely to relapse.

When examining the SF36, Boyer found that although MCS provided valuable information into cognitive and mental functioning, the SF36-PCS was more indicative of relapse. Specifically, the participants who had poor physical functioning had higher rates of relapse. Boyer believes that the stress put on the participant, as well as the burden to family members and caregivers, could increase the risk for relapse in those with diminished physical capacities. This finding suggests that clinicians should be attentive to not only the mental components of illness trajectory, but also the physical ones. Boyer added, “The subjective physical well-being of patients with schizophrenia should thus be considered by clinicians as an important predictor of relapse, in the same way that psychological aspects are considered.”

Boyer, Laurent, Aurelie Millier, Emeline Perthame, Samuel Aballea, Pascal Auquier, and Mondher Toumi. Quality of life is predictive of relapse in schizophrenia. BMC Psychiatry 13.1 (2013): 1-8. Print.

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  • Leo

    March 4th, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    My physical health would be a good indicator of how I feel from within. a deteriorating body would make it much easier for the mental strength to break down too. and the two failing at the same time can often leave one stranded and without much hope. so its imperative that those having these problems gain adequate tools to deal with the situation at hand!

  • Dan

    March 5th, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    So maybe integrating exercise and physical therapy into many programs could be a real plus

  • liz

    March 5th, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    I’d like to think so, Dan. There is almost so much stress on how physical exercise can be beneficial. But a diagnosis of one disorder and all that people go through is sadness and complete ignorance of their physical exercise. This could come in handy in actually motivating people to take up exercise not just to stay hale and hearty but also to prevent a relapse in disorders such as these.

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