Health beliefs link to duration of untreated psychosis and attitudes to later treatment in early psychosis
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Background: Health beliefs influence health behaviours and have been shown to influence outcomes in a variety of illnesses, treatments and preventative interventions. Aims: We aimed to measure health beliefs in first episode psychosis with the hypotheses that their structure would resemble that in physical illness (diabetes) and would correlate with prior duration of untreated psychosis and later attitudes to treatment. Method: The Multidimensional Health Locus of Control scale was used in a sample of 50 people with schizophrenia during the first episode and at 18-month follow-up, 51 diabetic controls and 51 normal controls. Results: Schizophrenia patients, both at first episode and 18 months later, had a pattern of health beliefs that was similar to those of the patients with diabetes and significantly different to the normal controls. There were significant associations between internal locus of control score and short DUP, and between external locus of control score and a positive attitude to medication as measured by the Drug Attitudes Inventory. Conclusions: Health beliefs in first episode schizophrenia correlate with determinants of outcome.
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