Social Support Predicts 5-Year Outcome in First-Episode Schizophrenia

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Investigations of social support in schizophrenia have been relatively sparse. In this research, patients with 1st-episode schizophrenia or affective psychosis were asked to describe supportive social relationships immediately prior to their 1st lifetime treatment contact and were interviewed 18 months and 5 years later for assessment of their social and occupational functioning. The results indicated that 18-month adaptive functioning was lower than in the year prior to 1st treatment contact but at 5 years rose above that seen both at baseline and 18 months. Moreover, social support from nonfamily members of the social network predicted 5-year adaptive functioning in the schizophrenia (n = 54) group but not in the affective psychosis (n = 55) group. Support from family did not predict 5-year outcome in either group. Together, these findings replicate and extend earlier findings that social support predicts outcome in 1st-episode schizophrenia.

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