, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 169-184

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

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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.

This work was partially supported by grants from the Bureau of Health Professions (Chafetz and Collins-Bride, Adult Nurse Practitioners for Severely Mentally Ill Adults, D24 NU 00777, 1997–2001); and the National Institute for Nursing Research (Chafetz and White, Clinical Trial of Wellness Training for the Mentally Ill, RO1-NRO5350, 2000–2005).