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Psychiatr Serv. 2000 Feb;51(2):223-8.

Social functioning of patients with schizophrenia in high-income welfare societies.

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Department of Research and Education of the Division of Psychiatry, UllevÄl University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



The study assessed the level of reintegration into the community of patients with schizophrenia in Oslo, Norway, a country with a well-developed social welfare system and low unemployment rates.


Eighty-one patients with a DSM-III-R diagnosis of schizophrenia treated in 1980 and in 1983 in a short-term ward of a psychiatric hospital were followed up after seven years. Seventy-four of 76 patients alive at follow-up agreed to participate. Social functioning was measured by the Strauss-Carpenter Level of Functioning Scale and the Social Adjustment Scale.


At follow-up 78 percent of patients lived independently, 47 percent were socially isolated, and 94 percent were unemployed. Thirty-four percent had lost employment in the follow-up period. A poor outcome in terms of social functioning and community reintegration was associated with loss of employment. A good outcome was predicted by short periods of inpatient hospitalization, high levels of education, being married, male gender, and not having a late onset of psychosis.


The level of homelessness among these patients with schizophrenia was encouragingly low, which may have been expected in a high-income welfare society. However, insufficient efforts were aimed at social and instrumental rehabilitation, and the level of unemployment was alarmingly high.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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