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The relationship of marital status and clinical characteristics in middle-aged and older patients with schizophrenia and depressive symptoms

Maren Nyer, MEd

University of Virginia, Department of Human Services, The Curry School of Education, Charlottesville, VA, USA

John Kasckow, MD, PhD

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Ian Fellows, MS

Department of Psychiatry, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry (116A-1), University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Edith C. Lawrence, PhD

University of Virginia, Department of Human Services, The Curry School of Education, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Shah Golshan, PhD

Department of Psychiatry, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry (116A-1), University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Ellen Solorzano, MSW

Department of Psychiatry, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry (116A-1), University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Sidney Zisook, MD

Department of Psychiatry, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry (116A-1), University of California, San Diego, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA

BACKGROUND: This study examines the relationship of marital status to depression, positive and negative symptoms, quality of life, and suicidal ideation among 211 patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and subsyndromal depressive symptoms. We hypothesized that single participants would have more severe symptomatology than married and cohabitating participants.

METHODS: Outpatients, age 40 or older, were diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders using the MINI Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis 1 Disorders. Participants exhibited a score of >8 on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression but did not meet criteria for a major depressive episode.

RESULTS: Participants who were married or cohabitating had a later age of onset of first psychotic episode or hospitalization than those who were single (age, 29.35 vs 24.21). Married participants rated their quality of life higher than those who were single (mean Quality of Life Scale scores, 72.28 vs 53.87) and had less suicidal ideation than those who were divorced, widowed, or separated (7.4% vs 29.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: In middle-aged and older individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and depressive symptoms, marriage appeared to enhance quality of life and protect against suicidal ideation. Efforts that focus on providing additional support for those who are experiencing divorce or separation could prove to be lifesaving for these individuals.

KEYWORDS: marriage, quality of life, suicide, subsyndromal depression, marital status, divorce

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2010;22(3):172–179

CORRESPONDENCE: Maren Nyer, MEd, University of Virginia, Department of Human Services, The Curry School of Education, 405 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903 USA E-MAIL: mbn4k@virginia.edu
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2010 Quadrant HealthCom Inc.

 
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