Physical Health Literacy and Health-related Behaviors in Patients with Psychosis

Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2019 May 31;17(2):279-287. doi: 10.9758/cpn.2019.17.2.279.


Objective: : This study compared the levels of knowledge of physical illnesses and patterns of health behaviors between patients with psychosis and the general population.

Methods: : A total of 712 participants were included in the study; 292 patients with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder and 420 healthy controls matched for age and gender. Questionnaires were administered to study participants to determine the level of knowledge of chronic physical illnesses such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus and health-related behavior. Results from the two study groups were compared to identify differences in knowledge of physical illness and health-related behaviors.

Results: : Compared with healthy controls, patients with psychosis were less likely to undergo regular medical check-ups and engage in exercise. Patients with psychosis had poorer knowledge of physical illnesses, and were more likely to smoke, be overweight, or have diabetes. Patients with psychosis were significantly less likely to acknowledge the importance of early detection of cancer and controlling hypertension and diabetes, independent of education and type of medical insurance. Patients who smoked were significantly less likely to agree with the statement on the relationship between smoking and physical illnesses. Patients not undergoing regular medical check-ups were significantly less likely to agree with statements concerning the need for cancer screening.

Conclusion: : Patients with psychosis demonstrated lower levels of knowledge of physical illnesses and a lack of understanding of preventive behaviors. Low levels of knowledge were associated with poor health-related behaviors. Education of physical health should be provided to patients with psychosis.

Keywords: Cardiovascular; Health; Neoplasm; Psychotic disorder; Schizophrenia; Smoking.