Physical and mental health-related quality of life among older people with schizophrenia

Schizophr Res. 2009 Mar;108(1-3):207-13. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2008.12.008. Epub 2009 Jan 24.


Objective: Since the time of Kraeplin, schizophrenia has been thought of as a disorder with progressive deterioration in functioning. An important aspect of functioning is both physical and mental health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The objective of this study was to examine the relationship of age to both mental and physical aspects of HRQoL in individuals with schizophrenia as compared to normal comparison subjects (NCs).

Methods: Middle-aged and older community-dwelling patients with schizophrenia (N=486) were compared to NCs (N=101). Health related quality of life was measured using the SF-36 Physical Health and Mental Health Component scores. The relationship between age and HRQoL was examined using linear regressions. In addition, we performed exploratory analyses to examine the effects of confounding variables on this relationship, and to examine the effects of age on SF-36 subscales.

Results: Patients with schizophrenia had lower SF-36 Physical and Mental Health Component scores than NCs, and these differences persisted after adjusting for the age difference between the two groups. The relationship between age and mental, but not physical, HRQoL was significantly different between the patients with schizophrenia and the NCs. Specifically, older age was associated with higher mental HRQoL among patients with schizophrenia, but not among the NCs. This difference remained significant after examining multiple potential confounding demographic and clinical variables.

Conclusions: This study found that older age was associated with greater mental health quality of life. Longitudinal studies are warranted to confirm our finding, and to examine potential mechanisms responsible for possible improvement in mental HRQoL with age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires