The importance of social comparisons for high levels of subjective quality of life in chronic schizophrenic patients
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
In schizophrenic patients, quality of life (QoL) studies often find high levels of general life satisfaction and satisfaction in various life domains despite deprived living conditions. Therefore, the usefulness of QoL as an outcome indicator has been questioned. Since social comparison processes have been postulated to be related to the level of satisfaction, this hypothesis was analysed empirically by the present study in schizophrenic patients. Satisfaction and social comparisons of 148 schizophrenic inpatients and 66 mentally healthy controls were examined with regard to the domains ‘health’ and ‘family’ by means of a standardised interview. The schizophrenic patients had a history of either long-term (n = 75) or short-term (n = 73) restricted and deprived living conditions. Long-term patients showed significantly higher satisfaction levels than short-term patients. They compared themselves predominantly laterally or downwards with fellow inpatients. Significant relationships between the direction of social comparisons and satisfaction ratings were found in all three samples. Social comparisons proved to be important for the level of satisfaction in schizophrenic patients. Results indicate that experiences of restricted and deprived living conditions induce accommodation processes and response-shifts that should be taken into account in the interpretation of quality-of-life data.
- Katschnig H. How useful is the concept of quality of life in psychiatry? In: Katschnig H, Freeman H, Sartorius N (eds), Quality of Life in Mental Disorders. Chichester: Wiley, 1997: 3–16.
- Lehman AF. The quality of life of chronic patients in a state hospital and in community residences. Hosp Community Psychiatry 1983; 37: 901–907.
- Skantze K, Malm U. A new approach to facilitation of working based on patients' quality of life goals. Nord J Psychiatry 1994; 48: 37–44.
- Priebe S, Gruyters T, Heinze M, Hoffmann C, Jäkel A. Subjektive Evaluationskriterien in der psychiatrischen Versorgung – Erhebungsmethoden fur Forschung und Praxis. Psychiatr Prax 1995; 22: 140–144.
- Franz M, Franz M, Lis S, Pluddemann K, Gallhofer B. Conventional versus atypical neuroleptics: Subjective quality of life in schizophrenic patients. Br J Psychiatry 1997; 170: 422–425.
- Oliver JPJ. The social care directive: Development of a quality of life profile for use in community services for the mentally ill. Soc Work Soc Sci Rev 1991; 3: 5–45.
- Barry MM, Zissi A. Quality of life as an outcome measure in evaluating mental health services: A review of the empirical evidence. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 1997; 32: 38–47. CrossRef
- Kilian R. Ist Lebensqualitat meûbar? Probleme der quantitativen und Moglichkeiten der qualitativen Erfassung von Lebensqualitat in der Psychiatrie. Psychiatr Prax 1995; 22: 97–101.
- Lehman AF. Measures of quality of life among persons with severe and persistent mental disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 1996; 31: 78–88. CrossRef
- Sullivan G, Wells KB, Leake B. Quality of life of seriously mentally ill persons in Mississippi. Hosp Community Psychiatry 1991; 42: 752–754.
- Atkinson M, Zibin S, Chuang H. Characterizing quality of life among patients with chronic mental illness: A critical examination of the self-report methodology. Am J Psychiatry 1997; 154: 99–105.
- Skantze K, Malm U, Dencker S, May PRA, Corrigan P. Comparison of quality of life with standard of living in schizophrenic out-patients. Br J Psychiatry 1992; 161: 797–801. CrossRef
- Franz M, Ehlers F, Meyer T. Hessische Enthospitalisierungsstudie. Bericht fur den Landeswohlfahrtsverband uber den Untersuchungszeitraum 1994–1997 (Hessian Deinstitutionalisation Study). Kassel: LWV, 1998.
- Angermeyer MC, Kilian R. Theoretical models of quality of life in mental disorders. In: Katschnig H, Freeman H, Sartorius N (eds), Quality of Life in Mental Disorders. Chichester: Wiley, 1997: 19–30.
- Diener E. Traits can be powerful, but are not enough: Lessons from subjective well-being. J Res Pers 1996; 30: 389–399.
- Stouffer SA, Suchman EA, DeVinney LC, Star SA, Williams RM. The American Soldier: Adjustment during Army Life. Princetown: Princetown University Press, 1949.
- Michalos AC. Satisfaction and happiness. Soc Indicat Res 1980; 8: 385–422. CrossRef
- Festinger L. A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations 1954; 7: 117–140. CrossRef
- Wills TA. Downward comparison principles in social psychology. Psychol Bull 1981; 90: 245–271. CrossRef
- Wood J, Taylor S, Lichtman R. Social comparison in adjustment to breast cancer. J Personality Soc Psychol 1985; 49: 1169–1183. CrossRef
- Affleck G, Tennen H, Pfeiffer C, Fifield J, Rowe J. Downward comparison and coping with serious medical problems. Am J Orthopsychiatry 1987; 57: 570–578. CrossRef
- Affleck G, Tennen H, Pfeiffer C, Fifield J. Social comparisons in rheumatoid arthritis: accuracy and adaptational significance. J Soc Clin Psychol 1988; 6: 219–234.
- Olson JM, Herman CP, Zanna MP. Relative Deprivation and Social Comparison: The Ontario Symposium Vol. 4. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1986.
- Masters JC, Smith WP. Social Comparison, Social Justice, and Relative Deprivation. Theoretical and Empirical, and Policy Perspectives. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum As-sociates, 1987.
- Breetvelt IS, VanDam FSAM. Underreporting by cancer patients: the case of response-shift. Soc Sci Med 1991; 32: 981–987. CrossRef
- Franz M, Meyer T, Backes S, Gallhofer B. What do schizophrenic persons mean by `quality of life'? A content analysis of 268 open-ended interviews (in preparation).
- Lehman AF. A quality of life interview for the chronically mentally ill. Eval Program Plan 1988; 11: 51–62. CrossRef
- Affleck G, Tennen H. Social comparison and coping with major medical problems. In: Suls J, Wills TA (eds), Social Comparison – Contemporary Theory and Research. Hills-dale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991: 369–393.
- Lally SJ. ‘Does being in here mean there is something wrong with me?’ Schiz Bull 1989; 15: 253–265.
- Suls J. Comparison processes in relative deprivation: A lifespan analysis. In: Olson JM, Herman CP, Zanna MP (eds), Relative Deprivation and Social Comparison: The Ontario Symposium. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1986: 95–116.
- Filipp S-H, Buch-Bartos K. Vergleichsprozesse und Lebenszufriedenheit im Alter: Ergebnisse einer Pilotstudie. Z Entwickl Padagogis 1994; 26: 22–34.
- Goethals GR, Messick DM, Allison ST. The uniqueness bias: Studies of constructive social comparison. In: Suls J, Wills TA (eds), Social Comparison – Contemporary Theory and Research. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991: 149–176.
- Wood JV, Taylor KL. Serving self-relevant goals through social comparison. In: Suls J, Wills TA (eds), Social Comparison – Contemporary Theory and Research. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991: 23–49.
- The importance of social comparisons for high levels of subjective quality of life in chronic schizophrenic patients
Quality of Life Research
Volume 9, Issue 5 , pp 481-489
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- Accommodation processes
- Quality of life
- Social comparison
- Industry Sectors