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Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 2006;(429):46-50.

Determinants of quality of life in people with severe mental illness.

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Department of Health Sciences, Division of Nursing Lund University, Lund, Sweden.



The objective of this article was to review some methodological issues in this field and give an overview of empirical research findings with a special focus on factors associated with or affecting subjective quality of life in people with a severe mental illness.


A selective review of relevant scientific literature on quality of life in severe mental illness was conducted.


Subjective quality of life in people with a severe mental illness is only to a lesser extent related to external life conditions. Major determinants are psychopathology, especially symptoms of depression and anxiety, and aspects of the social network. Personality related factors such as self-esteem are also influential. Comparative studies have further shown that patients in community care settings have a better subjective quality of life than patients in hospital settings.


Efforts to improve subjective quality of life in people with severe mental illness should include a careful monitoring of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and pay particular attention to assessment of and interventions against unmet needs. Further, such interventions should stress a strengthening of the social support of the clients. It is also important to pay attention to mediators of changes in subjective quality of life such as self-esteem, mastery, autonomy, and self-efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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