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Schizophr Res. 1990 Mar-Apr;3(2):139-46.

Service utilisation, social support and psychiatric status in a cohort of patients with schizophrenic psychoses. A 7 year follow-up study.

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  • 1Cattedra e Servizio di Psicologia Medica, Universit√† di Verona, Italy.


All persons (n = 60) who contacted the South-Verona Psychiatric Case Register in 1979 and received an ICD-9 diagnosis of 'schizophrenia or other functional non-affective psychosis' were traced in 1986. 41 patients (17 males, 24 females) living in the community were assessed on a number of measures of psychopathology, social functioning, social support and service use. There were two major types of contact during the follow-up period: long-term but not high use (n = 9); and neither long-term nor high use (n = 16). In addition, ten patients were out of contact and six were outside the catchment area. Social support was highly variable, but overall negative and positive factors were evenly balanced. Symptomatology and social functioning were largely unrelated to service use, but significantly and negatively correlated with social support (i.e., the greater the level of social support, the higher the level of functioning). Social support was unrelated to patterns of contact, but was negatively correlated with measures of service utilization (i.e., the greater the level of social support, the lower the dependency on hospital inpatient care). These findings point to the need for developing community-based mental health services which maintain and enhance the protective effect of the patient's social support network.

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