Therapeutic Alliance, Illness Awareness, and Number of Hospitalizations for Schizophrenia

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While persons with multiple hospitalizations for schizophrenia have been found to differ from those with fewer, it remains unclear whether differences exist in illness awareness (personal understanding of psychopathology) or therapeutic alliance with inpatient staff (treatment involvement). This cross-sectional descriptive study therefore examined whether inpatients with more extensive hospitalization history 1) have less illness awareness and therapeutic alliance (perhaps contributing to the recidivism), 2) have more awareness and alliance (possibly because they have learned from experience), or 3) do not differ relative to persons with fewer inpatient stays. Results from staff and patient interviews (N = 307) suggest that illness awareness is greater in persons with more hospitalizations, while therapeutic alliance appears to weaken. Individuals with greater recidivism may therefore need less help than others in building a self-knowledge of psychopathology that may already have developed. Instead, enhanced engagement in care may be more important after multiple disappointing relapses.

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