ABSTRACT: Remitted schizophrenic patients living in the community often encounter difficulties in their daily lives, possibly leading to the development of social anxiety symptoms. Although several studies have reported the significance of social anxiety as a comorbidity in patients with schizophrenia, few longitudinal data are available on the development of social anxiety symptoms in patients with remitted schizophrenia, especially in association with the process of "deinstitutionalization." The aims of this study were to assess the social anxiety symptoms in remitted outpatients with schizophrenia and to examine whether the development of social anxiety symptoms was associated with psychotic symptoms, social functioning, or subjective quality of life.
Fifty-six people with schizophrenia who were discharged through a deinstitutionalization project were enrolled in this longitudinal study and prospectively assessed with regard to their symptoms, social functioning, and subjective quality of life. The severity of social anxiety symptoms was measured using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). Global/Social functioning and subjective quality of life were evaluated using the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale, the Social Functioning Scale, and the World Health Organization-Quality of Life 26 (WHO-QOL26).
Thirty-six patients completed the reassessment at the end of the 5-year follow-up period. The mean LSAS total score worsened over time, whereas other symptoms improved from the baseline. The mean WHO-QOL26 score in the worsened LSAS group was significantly lower than that in the stable LSAS group. At baseline, WHO-QOL26 scores were associated with an increase in the severity of social anxiety symptoms.
In community-dwelling patients with remitted schizophrenia, a lower subjective quality of life might lead to the development of social anxiety symptoms, both concurrently and prospectively. To achieve a complete functional recovery, additional interventions for social anxiety may be needed.
Comprehensive psychiatry 05/2012; 53(7):946-51. · 2.08 Impact Factor