Background: Since the end of the 20th century, quality of life has become a key outcome indicator in planning and evaluation of health services. From a sample of 297 users with severe mental disorders from Montreal (Canada), this study aimed to identify the key predictors of subjective quality of life (SQOL).
Methods: Users were recruited and interviewed from December 2008 to September 2010 and re-interviewed approximately 18 months later. A comprehensive framework including socio-demographic data, clinical, needs and functionality variables, negative life events, social support and healthcare service use, and appreciation data were considered as predictors. Clinical records and eight standardized instruments were used.
Results: Lower severity of needs, schizophrenia, better social integration, better reassurance of worth, fewer drug abuse problems, and living in supervised housing are predictors of SQOL. With regard to needs, absence or lower severity of needs in the areas of company, daytime activities, social exclusion, safety to self, and benefits are linked to SQOL.
Conclusion: Reducing the severity of needs is especially beneficial to ensure a higher SQOL for users with severe mental disorders. To improve SQOL, priority must be given to programs and interventions that promote the development of a stimulating and supportive social network, and maintain a plurality of residential services matching the functional abilities of users.