ABSTRACT: Although users' involvement in mental health research has repeatedly been acknowledged as having a positive influence on research quality, this rarely happens.
To develop and validate a Questionnaire on Users' Opinions (QOU) about schizophrenia, in close collaboration with 279 persons affected by this disorder.
A preliminary list of items concerning the opinions of users with schizophrenia regarding causes, treatments and psychosocial consequences of the disorder was developed by 38 users with schizophrenia and 40 professionals who attended a workshop. Psychometric properties of the QOU were tested on 241 users with schizophrenia, 149 of whom were randomly assigned to a test-retest study and 92 to a face-validity study. Content and construct validity were explored in the whole sample.
The final version of the QOU contains: (1) 24 items on the psychosocial consequences of schizophrenia, grouped into six subscales, whose Cronbach's alpha ranged between 0.55 and 0.74; (2) five multiple choice items on the Italian psychiatric law; (3) 12 open questions; and (4) four yes/no skipping items. Items' reliability, measured by Cohen's kappa coefficient, ranged between 0.55 and 0.92.
This questionnaire may be useful to assess patients' beliefs about schizophrenia and to target psychosocial interventions for this mental disorder.
International Journal of Social Psychiatry 10/2009; 55(5):425-41. · 1.15 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: This study explored the views of 241 patients with schizophrenia about their own disorder.
Patients' knowledge of their diagnosis, confidence that they will be well again, and perception of limitations in their own life as a result of the disorder were explored in relation to patients' opinions about the social consequences of schizophrenia. Study results were presented to participants, and suggestions were collected regarding how these study results should be used.
Seventy-two respondents (30%) reported that a psychiatrist told them that they have schizophrenia. Respondents who were confident that they would be well again had a lower duration of contact with psychiatric services and a less pronounced perception of affective and social difficulties related to schizophrenia. Respondents who did not feel limited in their life by the disorder reported less social distance and more optimism about the usefulness of treatments.
Participatory studies may provide ideas for a more constructive interaction between patients and professionals.
Psychiatric Services 08/2008; 59(7):795-9. · 2.38 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To describe what users with schizophrenia think about the causes of their disorder.
In each of the 10 participating Italian mental health centres, 25 users with schizophrenia were consecutively recruited and asked to complete the Users' Opinions Questionnaire (UOQ).
150 out of 198 respondents mentioned at least one social cause for their mental disorder, and 114 reported exclusively social causes. Family conflicts were the most frequently reported social cause (21%), followed by traumas (20%), work and study difficulties (17%), and psychological disturbances (17%). Ten percent of the respondents mentioned biological causes. Biological causes were more frequently reported by users who were aware of their diagnosis of schizophrenia, whereas social causes by those who just knew they suffered from a psychosis. Difficulties in social relationships were more frequently pointed out by respondents with an earlier onset of the illness and a higher number of compulsory admissions in the previous 12 months. These users expressed more scepticism about the usefulness of the treatments they received, and perceived a greater social distance.
Users' beliefs about the causes of their disorder should be taken into account by psychiatrists in order to improve their working alliance with them.
Epidemiologia e psichiatria sociale 18(1):48-53. · 3.16 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To explore: a) the burden of care, and the professional and social support in relatives of patients with bipolar disorders; b) the psychosocial interventions provided to patients and their families by Italian mental health centres.
342 outpatients with a bipolar disorder and their key-relatives were randomly recruited in 26 Italian mental health centres, randomly selected and stratified by geographical area and population density. Family burden was explored in relation to: a) patient's clinical status and disability; b) relatives' social and professional support; c) interventions received by patients and their families; d) geographical area.
In the previous two months, global functioning was moderately impaired in 36% of the patients, and severely impaired in 34% of them. Twenty-one percent of patients attended a rehabilitative programme, and 3% of their families received a psychoeducational intervention. Burden was higher when patient's symptoms and disability were more severe, the relatives had poorer psychological support and help in emergencies by the social network, and the family lived in Southern Italy. Differences in family burden in relation to geographical area disappeared when psychosocial interventions were provided.
This study highlights the need to increase the availability of rehabilitative interventions for patients with bipolar disorders and of psychological support for their families, especially in Southern Italy.
Epidemiologia e psichiatria sociale 18(2):137-46. · 3.16 Impact Factor