The severity of psychopathology has a strong negative impact on quality of life (QoL) among older adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorder. However, because these subjects generally experience multiple psychiatric symptoms, it remains unclear whether decreased QoL in this population is due to specific symptoms (e.g., hallucinations), specific dimensions of psychopathology (e.g., negative symptoms), a general psychopathology dimension representing the shared effect across all psychiatric symptoms, or a combination of these explanations. Data were derived from the Cohort of individuals with Schizophrenia Aged 55 years or more (CSA) study, a large (N = 353) multicenter sample of older adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorder recruited from French public-sector psychiatric departments. We used structural equation modeling to examine the shared and specific effects of psychiatric symptoms on QoL, while adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, general medical conditions, global cognitive functioning and psychotropic medications. Psychiatric symptoms and QoL were assessed face-to-face by psychiatrists using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the Quality of Life Scale (QLS). Among older adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, effects of psychiatric symptoms on QoL were exerted mostly through a general psychopathology dimension (β = − 0.43, p < 0.01). Negative symptom dimension had an additional negative effect on QoL beyond the effect of that factor (β = − 0.28, p < 0.01). Because psychiatric symptoms affect QoL mainly through two dimensions of psychopathology, i.e., a general psychopathology dimension and a negative symptom dimension, mechanisms underlying those dimensions should be considered as promising targets for therapeutic interventions to substantially improve quality of life of this vulnerable population.
Nicolas Hoertel, Léa Rotenberg, Carlos Blanco, Rachel Pascal de Raykeer, Cécile Hanon, Arthur Kaladjian, Frédéric Limosin & CSA Study Group
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, volume 270, (2020)