Article

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 169-184

First online:

The Poor General Health of the Severely Mentally Ill: Impact of Schizophrenic Diagnosis

  • R. N. Linda ChafetzAffiliated withSan Francisco Community Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of California Email author 
  • , R. N. Mary C. WhiteAffiliated withSan Francisco Community Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of California
  • , R. N. Gerri Collins-BrideAffiliated withSan Francisco Community Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of California
  • , John NickensAffiliated withSan Francisco Progress Foundation

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Abstract

This study focused on poor health among the severely mentally ill and additional risks associated with schizophrenia. Records of 781 clients in short-term residential treatment programs provided data. The schizophrenic subgroup was compared to others in bivariate analyses, with significant findings included in logistic regression. Those with schizophrenia were more likely to be male, unemployed, and insured by MediCal/Medicare. Most health problems occurred at similar rates across diagnoses, reflecting common environmental risk factors. Those with schizophrenia had less substance abuse and fewer liver conditions, but more diabetes and chronic respiratory problems. Implications for providers and for research are discussed.

Keywords

schizophrenia severe mental illness medical co-morbidity diabetes respiratory risk factors