Effects of illness attribution and depression on the quality of life among persons with serious mental illness

David Mechanic, Donna McAlpine, Sarah Rosenfield, Diane Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attributing one's problems to a mental illness is associated with reduced subjective quality of life (QOL) among persons with schizophrenia, controlling for a broad range of socio-demographic, social, clinical, and psychosocial variables. Persons who attributed their problems to a 'physical, medical, or biological' problem in contrast to a 'mental illness' reported more positive social relations and higher overall quality of life. Much of the negative effect of mental illness attributions is explained by perceived stigma, lower self-esteem, and a higher level of depressive symptomatology. Depressive symptoms have an independent negative effect on QOL net of all other variables. These findings have important implications for the appropriate rehabilitation of persons with mental illness and require further scrutiny with prospective data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1994

Keywords

  • depression
  • illness attribution
  • quality of life
  • schizophrenia
  • self-esteem
  • stigma

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