Background: Although the quality of life (QoL) experienced by patients with schizophrenia has been recognized, few studies have assessed the relationship between the caregivers' QoL and patients' QoL.
Methods: The study included 253 stabilized outpatients with schizophrenia and their caregivers from 3 Mental Health Services in Bolivia (N = 83), Chile (N = 85) and Peru (N = 85). Caregivers' and patients' QoL were respectively assessed using two specific QoL questionnaires (S-CGQoL and S-QoL 18). We collected socio-demographic information and clinical data. Multiple linear regressions were performed to determine which variables were associated with patient's QoL. We tested the following hypothesis using structural equation modeling (SEM): caregivers' QoL may have an indirect effect on patients' QoL mediated by their influence of the severity of psychotic symptoms.
Results: In the multivariate analysis, the caregivers' QoL was not significantly associated with the patients' QoL, except for one QoL dimension about relationship with family (Beta = 0.23). Among patients' characteristics, being a woman and Aymara, having lower educational level, unemployment and severity of symptoms was significantly associated to a lower QoL. The SEM revealed a moderate significant association between caregivers' QoL and psychotic symptoms severity (path coefficient = -0.32) and a significant association between psychotic symptoms severity and patients QoL (path coefficient = -0.40). The indirect effect of caregivers' QoL on patients' QoL was significant (mediated effect coefficient = 0.13).
Conclusion: Improvement of caregiver's QoL may have a direct impact on the psychotic symptoms of patients and indirectly on patient's QoL, confirming the need for ongoing family interventions in these regions.
Keywords: Caregiver; Quality of life; Schizophrenia; Structural equation modeling.