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Despite consistently high discontinuation rates due to withdrawal of consent (WOC) and insufficient therapeutic effect (ITE) in schizophrenia trials, insight into the underlying factors contributing to poor satisfaction with treatment and dropout is limited. A better understanding of these factors could help to improve trial design and completion rates.
Using data from 1,136 trial participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, we explored associations between predictor variables with (1) dropout due to WOC and ITE and (2) satisfaction with treatment among patients and investigators by means of hierarchic multiple regression analyses.
ITE was associated with poor clinical improvement, poor investigator satisfaction with treatment, and poor patient insight into their own disease, whereas WOC only showed a meaningful association with poor patient satisfaction with treatment. Investigator satisfaction with treatment appeared most strongly associated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) positive factor endpoint scores, whereas patient satisfaction with treatment was best predicted by the endpoint score on the PANSS emotional distress factor. The occurrence of severe side effects showed no meaningful association to satisfaction with treatment among investigators and patients, and neither did a patient’s experienced psychopathology, nor their self-rating of functional impairment.
Whereas trial discontinuation due to ITE is associated with poor treatment effectiveness, a patient’s decision to withdraw from an antipsychotic trial remains unpredictable and may occur even when the investigator observes a global clinical improvement and is satisfied with the treatment.
Emotional crying is hypothesized to serve intra- and interpersonal functions. Intrapersonal functions are assumed to facilitate the capacity to recover from emotional distress, thus promoting well-being. Interpersonal functions are postulated to have a major impact on social functioning. We hypothesized that non-criers would have lower well-being and poorer social functioning than criers.
Study participants included 475 people who reportedly lost the capacity to cry and 179 “normal” control criers. Applied measures assessed crying, well-being, empathy, attachment, social support, and connection with others. Prevalence estimates of not crying by gender were obtained from a panel survey of 2,000 Dutch households.
In the main survey, tearless cases had less connection with others, less empathy, and experienced less social support, but were equal in terms of well-being. They also reported being less moved by emotional stimuli and had a more avoidant and less anxious attachment style. In multivariate analyses, being male, having an avoidant attachment style, and lacking empathy were independent predictors of tearlessness. Some 46.1% felt that not being able to cry affected them negatively; however, despite these findings, only 2.9% had sought any kind of professional help. Loss of the capacity to cry occurred in 8.6% of the men and 6.5% of the women in the large panel survey.
Despite reduced empathy, less connection with others, and a more avoidant/less anxious attachment type, well-being is maintained in tearless people. Additional clinical and therapeutic investigations of tearlessness may lead to clarification of bidirectional associations between psychiatric disorders (e.g., alexithymia, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychopathy) and tearlessness.
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