Quality of life impairment syndrome in schizophrenia

  • Michael S. Ritsner
  • Anatoly Gibel


Patients with schizophrenia exhibit an exceedingly wide range of symptoms, and a broad spectrum of cognitive impairments. In addition, it has become increasingly apparent that the disorder is, to variable degrees, accompanied by quality of life impairments. This chapter addresses the question of whether the health-related quality of life (HRQL) impairment or deficit is a syndrome in schizophrenia. Therefore, first, we discuss what the general and domain-specific HRQL impairments are. Then, we address distressing and protective factors, and a factor structure of HRQL impairment. The literature, as well as new and previously published findings from the Shaar Menashe Longitudinal Study of Quality of Life will be presented in detail.

We argue that HRQL deficit is highly prevalent and fairly marked in schizophrenia patients: 49% of the patients are clinically severely impaired regarding general life quality, 42% - in general activities, 39% - in subjective feelings, 30% - in both leisure time activities and social relationships. The HRQL impairment has been observed before individuals exhibit the signs and psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia; it is relatively stable throughout the course of the illness. HRQL impairment syndrome appears to be relatively independent of symptomatology and neurocognitive deficit. Finally, the authors suggest that impairment in general and the domain-specific quality of life in particular is sufficiently reliable, stable, and specific enough syndromes to warrant inclusion in the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia. Limitations in the current knowledge in this area are identified, and suggestions for future research are provided

Key words

Schizophrenia Quality of life Impairment Factors Predictors Model 


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Copyright information

© springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Ritsner
    • 1
  • Anatoly Gibel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry The Rappaport Faculty of MedicineTechnion - Israel Institute of Technology and Acute DepartmentSha’ar Menashe Mental Health CenterIsrael

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