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Open Access Research article

The influence of Antonovsky’s sense of coherence (SOC) and psychoeducational family intervention (PEFI) on schizophrenic outpatients’ perceived quality of life: a longitudinal field study

Walter Gassmann1, Oliver Christ23*, Jana Lampert1 and Hartmut Berger1

Author Affiliations

1 Vitos Philippshospital, Philippsanlage 101, Riedstadt, 64560, Germany

2 Work and Engineering Psychology, TU Darmstadt, Alexanderstrasse 10, Darmstadt, 64287, Germany

3 School of Applied Psychology, University of Applied Science Northwestern Switzerland, Riggenbachstrasse 16, Olten, 4600, Switzerland

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:10  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-10

Published: 7 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Antonovsky’s sense of coherence (SOC) as well as psychoeducational interventions has a convincing impact on the quality of life (QOL) of patients suffering from schizophrenia. This study explores the influence of SOC on QOL among participants of a PEFI group (PG) compared to a control group (CG).

Methods

In a quasi-experimental field study 46 schizophrenic outpatients had an option to participate together with their family members the PG (n = 25) or the CG (n = 21). They were assessed amongst others with the Quality of Life Questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF), the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF), the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the Sense of Coherence Scale (SOC-29). The efficacy of the PG on QOL was compared to the CG within two different SOC levels.

Results

Before intervention patients with high SOC scores had significant higher levels in GAF and QOL and a trend of lower PANSS scores. The strongest relationship was found between SOC and QOL. Regarding the SOC level after intervention PG participants had higher QOL values than the CG within the last three measurements. The highest benefit due to QOL was observed within PG participants with high SOC scores.

Conclusions

The results of the study suggest that SOC is a good predictive variable for clinical outcomes including QOL. Generally, the influence of the SOC level on QOL was stronger than the effect of PEFI. Hence schizophrenic patients with high SOC scores did benefit most from participating in a PG regarding their QOL. To optimize the effect of PEFI more efforts are needed to enhance the SOC of the participants. Altogether PEFI seems to be an important completion to the standard treatment for schizophrenic outpatients.

Keywords:
Multifamily intervention; Sense of coherence; Schizophrenia; Quality of life