Year

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health

Abstract

Few studies have examined the quality of life (QoL) for people with schizophrenia in Arab countries and none that solely studied QoL for people with schizophrenia in Saudi Arabia. This study aimed at investigating the QoL for Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia. It examined the level of satisfaction with their QoL that Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia had as well as the relationships between socio-demographic characteristics and QoL. In addition, it explored how Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia perceive their QoL.

A purposive sample was recruited from the Psychiatric Outpatient Department of King Fahd University Hospital (KFUH), Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Structured face-to-face interviews were conducted using the Lancashire Quality of Life Profile–European Version (LQoLP-EU). The quantitative data were entered into SPSS for Windows Version 17. Ordinal regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, marital status, employment, education, income, and living situations) and total QoL score along with the nine individual QoL domains. A thematic analysis was used with the qualitative data to identify themes related to how Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia perceive their QoL.

The final sample was comprised of 159 outpatients with schizophrenia. The majority of the participants were male (61%), married (51.6%), and unemployed (54.7%). They had a mean age of 38.23 years. The main findings of the quantitative data analysis were that Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia were mostly satisfied with their religion (82.2%), while they were dissatisfied with their leisure activities (25.2%), work (23.3%), and consequently, their financial status (24.5%). In addition, females with schizophrenia reported lower QoL than males, particularly in work/education, family and social relationships, and health. People with schizophrenia who were illiterate or had an elementary school education reported lower QoL than those with a university or college education. Unemployed people reported lower QoL than employed people, particularly in finance, legal and safety, and health categories. Married individuals reported higher QoL in the areas of financial situation, family and social relationships, and health. A thematic analysis of the qualitative interview data identified two main factors affecting the QoL for people with schizophrenia: 1) the shame of having schizophrenia was a barrier to their QoL and 2) the positive role of religion was a facilitator for their QoL.

This study concluded the following: 1) Religion helps Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia cope with and manage their mental illness, which improves their QoL, 2) the shame of having a mental illness negatively affects the social engagement of Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia, limiting their participation in leisure and work activities and therefore diminishing their QoL, 3) being female, unemployed, or illiterate or having only primary education is associated with poor QoL, while being married is related to a better QoL. To improve the QoL for Saudi Arabian people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, several suggestions were recommended for Saudi Arabian mental health services, mental health practices, and mental health nursing education. In addition, recommendations for future research were discussed.

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