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Schizophr Res. 2000 Jun 16;43(2-3):147-58.

Hopelessness and its impact on rehabilitation outcome in schizophrenia -an exploratory study.

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University Psychiatric Services Bern, Mid and West Sectors, Laupenstrasse 49, CH-3010, Bern, Switzerland.


The primary focus in contemporary psychiatry on symptoms and their neurobiological basis, although fundamentally important, is nevertheless incomplete. The long-term course and outcome of schizophrenia are determined not only by the disorder, but also by the interaction between the person and the disorder. Not only psychopathological symptoms but also cognitive variables such as negative self-concepts, low expectations and external loci of control can influence the patient's coping strategies and may lead to hopelessness and chronicity. Hopelessness here refers to a cognitive-affective state in which the patient perceives the disorder and its consequences to be beyond his control, feels helpless and has given up expecting to influence its course positively, thereby abandoning responsibility and active coping strategies. In a prospective study, we examined these relationships by using logistic regression in data from 46 schizophrenic outpatients who were participating in a vocational rehabilitation program. Negative self-concepts, external loci of control, and depression correlated to a higher extent with depressive-resigned coping strategies than did schizophrenic symptoms. Thus, poor rehabilitation outcome may be predicted to a high degree by the presence of external loci of control, pessimistic outcome expectancies, negative symptoms, and depressive-resigned coping strategies. After having eliminated the influence of negative symptoms, external control beliefs still had significant predictive value for the outcome. Rehabilitation outcome in schizophrenic patients can be only partially predicted by negative symptoms; the other predictive factor is whether the patient has already given up or not.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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