Quality of Life and Marital Adjustment in Remitted Psychiatric Illness: An Exploratory Study in a Rural Setting

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People with mental disorders experience impaired quality of life (QOL). In India, spouses form the most important caregiver for the patient and therefore impact the patients’ QOL. However, relatively little is known about marital adjustment, which can definitely influence QOL of patients with mental illness. This study intended to explore marital adjustment and QOL among remitted patients with schizophrenia (SC), depression, and bipolar disorders (BPADs) and to study differences, if any, between the groups. Using a cross-sectional design, consecutive patients (N = 150) with an ICD-10-Diagnostic Criteria for Research diagnosis of SC, depression (recurrent depressive disorder [RDD]), or BPAD, who were currently in remission, were taken up for the study and administered the WHOQOL-BREF for assessing QOL and the Marital Adjustment Inventory for assessing marital adjustment, separately for the husband and the wife. The patients with SC reported poor QOL, whereas a better QOL was seen in those with BPAD and RDD, with significant differences noted between all three groups (p < 0.001). Marital adjustment was perceived to be poor by the patients but not so by the spouses. The greatest marital dissatisfaction was reported by the patients with SC (96%). A positive correlation was observed between the patients’ perception of marital adjustment and QOL (p < 0.05). Provision of mental health care should take into consideration patients’ possible perception of marital maladjustment and factor these into treatment strategies.

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