Title: Predictors of quality of life among community psychiatric patients in a peri-urban district of Gauteng Province, South Africa.
Authors: Mapatwana D, Tomita A, Burns JK, Robertson LJ.
Journal: Int J Soc Psychiatry,65(4):322-332. doi: 10.1177/0020764019842291 (2019)


BACKGROUND: Few studies on quality of life (QoL) among people with mental illness have been conducted in South Africa, and none in community dwelling individuals. However, a greater understanding of subjective QoL may inform community-based medical, psychotherapeutic, or social interventions. This study examined the QoL, clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of psychiatric patients attending community mental health clinics in the Gauteng Province of South Africa.

METHODS: A cross sectional interview-based study was conducted with 121 adult patients attending community psychiatric clinics. To reduce the impact of acute psychiatric symptoms on subjective QoL, only clinically stable patients were included. Sociodemographic details and clinical characteristics were recorded. Subjective QoL was assessed using the World Health Organization QOL-Bref scale (WHOQOL-Bref), and severity of psychiatric illness measured with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, expanded version 4.0 (BPRS-E).

RESULTS: Just over half of the sample rated their overall QoL as good or very good. Residual psychiatric symptomatology was the strongest predictor of a poor QoL in all four domains of the WHOQOL-Bref. The most severe BPRS scores were for the symptoms of depression, anxiety and somatic concern. Perceived social support significantly predicted a better QoL in the psychological, social relationships and environmental domains.

CONCLUSION: This study highlights the negative impact of residual psychiatric symptoms on subjective QoL and the importance of social support in enhancing QoL.