Emotional dysfunction in schizophrenia spectrum psychosis: the role of illness perceptions
WATSON PWB., GARETY PA., WEINMAN J., DUNN G., BEBBINGTON PE., FOWLER D., FREEMAN D., KUIPERS E.
<jats:p><jats:bold>Background.</jats:bold> Assessing illness perceptions has been useful in a range of medical disorders. This study of people with a recent relapse of their psychosis examines the relationship between illness perception, their emotional responses and their attitudes to medication.</jats:p><jats:p><jats:bold>Method.</jats:bold> One hundred patients diagnosed with a non-affective psychotic disorder were assessed within 3 months of relapse. Measures included insight, self-reported illness perceptions, medication adherence, depression, self-esteem and anxiety.</jats:p><jats:p><jats:bold>Results.</jats:bold> Illness perceptions about psychosis explained 46, 36 and 34% of the variance in depression, anxiety and self-esteem respectively. However, self-reported medication adherence was more strongly associated with a measure of insight.</jats:p><jats:p><jats:bold>Conclusions.</jats:bold> Negative illness perceptions in psychosis are clearly related to depression, anxiety and self-esteem. These in turn have been linked to symptom maintenance and recurrence. Clinical interventions that foster appraisals of recovery rather than of chronicity and severity may therefore improve emotional well-being in people with psychosis. It might be better to address adherence to medication through direct attempts at helping them understand their need for treatment.</jats:p>