Subjective quality of life (SQOL) is increasingly valued as an important outcome in schizophrenia treatment. The current study aims to gain insight into changes in SQOL during 5-year follow-up in older persons with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD).
The sample consisted of a catchment area-based group of 75 older Dutch patients (mean age 66.0 years) with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Factor analysis was used to identify subdomains of SQOL, measured with the Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA). 5-Year course trajectories and putative predictors of changes in SQOL and subdomains were examined using multivariable regression analyses.
72% was stable in either a high or a low SQOL-status over time. When outcome was defined as change score, 36%, 20%, and 44% of participants, respectively, reported a clinically relevant improvement, deterioration, or no change of SQOL during follow-up. Three SQOL subdomains were identified with different course trajectories; 33% of participants reported an improvement in the subdomains satisfaction with ‘daily life’ and ‘personal circumstances.’ The largest number of declines (28%) was reported in the subdomain satisfaction with ‘physical and mental health.’ Predictors of positive total and subdomain SQOL-change scores were limited to a higher age of onset and higher baseline SQOL scores.
In this cohort of older persons, it was demonstrated that SQOL might considerably change during 5-year follow-up. As course trajectories differed among subdomains, separate evaluation of these subdomains is clinically relevant. Improvement of SQOL is an attainable goal in older SSD patients despite deteriorating physical health.