Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that can significantly change the quality of life for not only the patient, but also sometimes their close relatives. Helping individuals with schizophrenia achieve the highest quality of life possible is linked to understanding the negative moods of schizophrenia. The negative moods that come with the disorder can result in high levels of depression and the occurrence of suicidal behavior.
Researchers have examined various aspects of negative moods and how they impact depressive symptoms. Recently Dafna Weinberg of the Department of Psychology at Ben-Gurion University in Israel examined four domains of self-concept and how they impact the symptoms of schizophrenia. The study sought to understand how the concept of self and various mood states can impact treatment outcome.
Weinberg and colleagues focused on negative symptoms, positive symptoms, depression and the patient’s quality of life among 89 patients undergoing treatment for schizophrenia. The researchers measured how the aspects of the patients were being affected by self-esteem, self-health appraisal and self-concept appraisal.
The researchers assessed the patients at baseline and then again five days later to understand how stress impacted each self-domain. The patients were then assessed once more six weeks following the study’s completion.
The results of the analysis showed that patients who were identified as having low levels of self-esteem experienced a lesser quality of life than those who had a higher self-esteem. Patients who showed a clear sense of self had higher levels of positive effect and reported better quality of life.
The trends were especially noted when stress levels were low. In further analysis, Weinberg discovered that depression was a risk factor for belief of illness and low self-esteem. This suggests that depressive symptoms may act to reduce self-esteem among patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and may also enhance the deterioration of additional areas of self-concept and well-being.
Weinberg notes that though the study was conducted over a relatively short time period, it is the first to examine all four domains of self in a group of schizophrenic patients. Its findings show that there are risk factors that may lead to negative outcomes. The self-concept is a crucial factor when estimating the success of a patient in achieving a good quality of life.
Weinberg says that the study highlights risk factors that can lead to negative outcomes that are rooted in self-concept. The findings show a complex role of the self-concept in the short-term outcomes among schizophrenia patients and also show that there are consequences related to symptoms of depression among schizophrenia patients.
The study’s results may provide opportunities to improve quality of life through the treatment of depressive symptoms and the focusing on self-concept in therapy treatments.
The findings are published in a recent issue of the journal Psychiatry: Interpersonal & Biological Processes.