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People with mental disorders frequently report experiences of discrimination within mental health services, which can have significant detrimental effects on individuals’ well-being and recovery. This study aimed to develop and validate a new standardized measure aiming to assess experiences of stigmatization among people with mental disorders within mental health services.
The scale was developed in Italian and tested for ease of use, comprehension, acceptability, relevance of items and response options within focus group session. A cross-sectional validation survey was conducted among mental health service users in Italy. Exploratory factor analysis with Promax oblique rotation, the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy and the Bartlett’s test of sphericity were used to assess the suitability of the sample for factor analysis. Reliability was assessed as internal consistency using Cronbach’s alpha and as test–retest reliability using weighted kappa and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Precision was examined by Kendall’s tau-b coefficient.
Overall, 240 people with mental disorders participated in the study; 56 also completed the retest evaluation after 2 weeks. The 18 items of the scale converged over a two-factor solution (‘Dignity violation and personhood devaluation’ and ‘Perceived life restrictions and social exclusion’), accounting for 56.4% of the variance (KMO 0.903; Bartlett’s test p < 0.001). Cronbach’s alpha for the total score was 0.934. The scale showed one item with kappa above 0.81, four items between 0.61 and 0.80, ten items between 0.41 and 0.60, two items between 0.21 and 0.40 and only one item below 0.20. ICC was 0.928 (95% CI 0.877–0.958). Kendall’s tau-b ranged from 0.450 to 0.617 (p < 0.001).
The newly developed scale represents a valid and reliable measure for assessing experiences of stigma among patients receiving care within mental health services. The scale has provided initial evidence of being specifically tailored for individuals with psychotic and bipolar disorders. However, the factorial structure of the scale should be replicated through a confirmatory factor analysis on a larger sample of individuals with these conditions.
Care needs represent an essential paradigm in planning residential facility (RF) interventions. However, possible disagreements between users and staff are critical issues in service delivery. The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) tracks experiences in the real world and real time. This study aimed to evaluate the care needs of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) in RFs and its association with daily activities and mood monitored using the ESM.
As part of the DIAPASON project, 313 residents with SSD were recruited from 99 Italian RFs. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were recorded. Care needs, the severity of symptomatology and negative symptoms were assessed. Fifty-six residents were also assessed for 7 consecutive days using the mobile ESM. Descriptive, agreement, predictor and moderator analyses were conducted.
The staff rated a higher number of total and met needs than service users (p < 0.001). Only a slight agreement between users and staff on unmet needs was found in self-care (k = 0.106) and information (k = 0.100) needs, while a moderate agreement was found in accommodation (k = 0.484), food (k = 0.406), childcare (k = 0.530), physical health (k = 0.470), telephone (k = 0.458) and transport (k = 0.425) needs. Older age (−0.15; p < 0.01), longer SSD diagnosis (−0.16; p < 0.01), higher collaboration (−0.16; p < 0.01) and lower symptomatology (−0.16; p < 0.01) decreased the number of unmet needs, while being a female (0.27; p < 0.05) and a shorter length of stay in an RF (0.54; p < 0.001) increased the number of unmet needs. A higher number of unmet needs was associated with a lower amount of time spent in leisure activities or reporting a positive mood: on the contrary, more unmet needs were associated with a greater amount of time spent in religious or non-productive activities. The associations between unmet needs rated by staff and users and momentary mood as assessed using the ESM were not moderated by the severity of symptomatology.
Although care needs are fundamental in planning residential activities aimed at recovery-oriented rehabilitation, RF interventions did not fully meet users' needs, and some disagreements on unmet needs between users and staff were reported. Further efforts are necessary to overcome Italian RF limits in delivering rehabilitative interventions defined by real users' needs to facilitate users' productivity and progress towards personal recovery.
Previous studies have provided initial evidence that people at risk for psychosis (PR) suffer from stigma and discrimination related to their condition. However, no study has systematically reviewed stigma and discrimination associated with being at PR and the potential underlying mechanisms.
This work aimed to systematically review all studies addressing stigma and discrimination in PR people in order to assess: (1) the occurrence of this phenomenon and its different components (public, internalized, perceived, and labeling-related), (2) whether stigma affects outcomes of the PR state, and (3) whether other factors modulate stigma among PR individuals.
The reviewed studies (n = 38) widely differ in their design, methodological quality, and populations under investigation, thus limiting direct comparison of findings. However, converging evidence suggests that the general public endorses stigmatizing attitudes towards PR individuals, and that this is more frequent in people with a low educational level or with no direct experience of the PR state. PR individuals experience more internalized stigma and perceive more discrimination than healthy subjects or patients with non-psychotic disorders. Further, PR labeling is equally associated with both positive (e.g. validation and relief) and negative effects (e.g. status loss and discrimination). Moreover, stigma increases the likelihood of poor outcome, transition to full-psychosis, disengagement from services, and family stigma among PR individuals. Finally, very limited evidence awaiting replication supports the efficacy of cognitive therapies in mitigating the negative effects of stigma.
Evidence confirms previous concerns about stigma and its negative consequences for PR individuals, thus having important public health implications.
Research has consistently shown that language abilities represent a core dimension of psychosis; however, to date, very little is known about syntactic comprehension performance in the early stages of psychosis. This study aims to compare the linguistic abilities involved in syntactic comprehension in a large group of First Episode Psychosis (FEP) patients and healthy controls (HCs).
A multiple choice test of comprehension of syntax was administered to 218 FEP patients (166 non-affective FEP patients [FEP-NA] and 52 affective FEP patients [FEP-A]) and 106 HCs. All participants were asked to match a sentence they listen with one out of four vignettes on a pc screen. Only one vignette represents the stimulus target, while the others are grammatical or non-grammatical (visual) distractors. Both grammatical and non-grammatical errors and performance in different syntactic constructions were considered.
FEP committed greater number of errors in the majority of TCGB language domains compared to HCs. Moreover, FEP-NA patients committed significantly more non-grammatical (z = −3.2, p = 0.007), locative (z = −4.7, p < 0.001), passive-negative (z = −3.2, p = 0.02), and relative (z = −4.6, p < 0.001) errors compared to HCs as well as more passive-affirmative errors compared to both HCs (z = −4.3, p < 0.001) and FEP-A (z = 3.1, p = 0.04). Finally, we also found that both FEP-NA and FEP-A committed more grammatical (FEP-NA: z = −9.2, p < 0.001 and FEP-A: z = −4.4, p < 0.001), total (FEP-NA: z = −8.2, p < 0.001 and FEP-A: z = 3.9, p = 0.002), and active-negative (FEP-NA: z = −5.8, p < 0.001 and FEP-A: z = −3.5, p = 0.01) errors compared to HCs.
This study shows that the access to syntactic structures is already impaired in FEP patients, especially in those with FEP-NA, ultimately suggesting that language impairments represent a core and inner feature of psychosis even at early stages.
Previous studies in individual countries have identified inconsistent predictors of length of stay (LoS) in psychiatric inpatient units. This may reflect methodological inconsistencies across studies or true differences of predictors. In this study we assessed predictors of LoS in five European countries and explored whether their effect varies across countries.
Prospective cohort study. All patients admitted over 14 months to 57 psychiatric inpatient units in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland and United Kingdom were screened. Putative predictors were collected from medical records and in face-to-face interviews and tested for their association with LoS.
Average LoS varied from 17.9 days in Italy to 55.1 days in Belgium. In the overall sample being homeless, receiving benefits, social isolation, diagnosis of psychosis, greater symptom severity, substance use, history of previous admission and being involuntarily admitted predicted longer LoS. Several predictors showed significant interaction effects with countries in predicting LoS. One variable, homelessness, predicted a different LoS even in opposite directions, whilst for other predictors the direction of the association was the same, but the strength of the association with LoS varied across countries.
The same patient characteristics have a different impact on LoS in different contexts. Thus, although some predictor variables related to clinical severity and social dysfunction appear of generalisable relevance, national studies on LoS are required to understand the complex influence of different patient characteristics on clinical practice in the given contexts.
Patient satisfaction is a key indicator of inpatient care quality and is associated with clinical outcomes following admission. Different patient characteristics have been inconsistently linked with satisfaction. This study aims to overcome previous limitations by assessing which patient characteristics are associated with satisfaction within a large study of psychiatric inpatients conducted across five European countries.
All patients with a diagnosis of psychotic (F2), affective (F3) or anxiety/somataform (F4) disorder admitted to 57 psychiatric inpatient units in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK were included. Data were collected from medical records and face-to-face interviews, with patients approached within 2 days of admission. Satisfaction with inpatient care was measured on the Client Assessment of Treatment Scale.
Higher satisfaction scores were associated with being older, employed, living with others, having a close friend, less severe illness and a first admission. In contrast, higher education levels, comorbid personality disorder and involuntary admission were associated with lower levels of satisfaction. Although the same patient characteristics predicted satisfaction within the five countries, there were significant differences in overall satisfaction scores across countries. Compared to other countries, patients in the UK were significantly less satisfied with their inpatient care.
Having a better understanding of patient satisfaction may enable services to improve the quality of care provided as well as clinical outcomes for all patients. Across countries, the same patient characteristics predict satisfaction, suggesting that similar analytical frameworks can and should be used when assessing satisfaction both nationally and internationally.
In Europe, at discharge from a psychiatric hospital, patients with severe mental illness may be exposed to one of two main care approaches: personal continuity, where one clinician is responsible for in- and outpatient care, and specialisation, where various clinicians are. Such exposure is decided through patient-clinician agreement or at the organisational level, depending on the country’s health system. Since personal continuity would be more suitable for patients with complex psychosocial needs, the aim of this study was to identify predictors of patients’ exposure to care approaches in different European countries.
Data were collected on 7302 psychiatric hospitalised patients in 2015 in Germany, Poland, and Belgium (patient-level exposure); and in the UK and Italy (organisational-level exposure). At discharge, patients were exposed to one of the care approaches according to usual practice. Putative predictors of exposure at patients’ discharge were assessed in both groups of countries.
Socially disadvantaged patients were significantly more exposed to personal continuity. In all countries, the main predictor of exposure was the admission hospital, except in Germany, where having a diagnosis of psychosis and a higher education status were predictors of exposure to personal continuity. In the UK, hospitals practising personal continuity had a more socially disadvantaged patient population.
Even in countries where exposure is decided through patient-clinician agreement, it was the admission hospital, not patient characteristics, that predicted exposure to care approaches. Nevertheless, organisational decisions in hospitals tend to expose socially disadvantaged patients to personal continuity.
The GET UP multi-element psychosocial intervention proved to be superior to treatment as usual in improving outcomes in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP). However, to guide treatment decisions, information on which patients may benefit more from the intervention is warranted.
To identify patients' characteristics associated with (a) a better treatment response regardless of treatment type (non-specific predictors), and (b) a better response to the specific treatment provided (moderators).
Some demographic and clinical variables were selected a priori as potential predictors/moderators of outcomes at 9 months. Outcomes were analysed in mixed-effects random regression models. (Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01436331.)
Analyses were performed on 444 patients. Education, duration of untreated psychosis, premorbid adjustment and insight predicted outcomes regardless of treatment. Only age at first contact with the services proved to be a moderator of treatment outcome (patients aged ≥35 years had greater improvement in psychopathology), thus suggesting that the intervention is beneficial to a broad array of patients with FEP.
Except for patients aged over 35 years, no specific subgroups benefit more from the multi-element psychosocial intervention, suggesting that this intervention should be recommended to all those with FEP seeking treatment in mental health services.
In routine psychiatric practice, clinicians, patients and carers are all involved in the care process and their perspectives should all be considered when assessing mental health outcome. The fact that their views may markedly differ (Gunkel & Priebe, 1993; Ellwood, 1998; Walter et al, 1998; Priebe et al, 2007; Brown et al, 2008) is confirmation that taking into account multiple perspectives and integrating these views are necessary steps when evaluating mental health outcomes.
The subjective appraisals made by patients who are mentally ill had been neglected for a long time, in both clinical practice and research, due to the view (or the prejudice) that they were unable, by the nature of their illness, to appreciate their need for treatment or to make the ‘correct’ decisions about how to conduct their lives. Therefore, for many years, the mental health system took a paternalistic stance and controlled the lives of people diagnosed with severe mental disorder, and the only form of ‘involvement’ of service users was as passive recipients of decisions made by others (Chamberlain, 2005).
The idea of patients’ involvement in the planning and evaluation of mental healthcare has been growing over the last 20 years, especially in those countries where institutional service provision has been transformed into a community-oriented model of care (Beresford, 2005; Chamberlain, 2005; Thornicroft & Tansella, 2005). This represents a major challenge for mental health services, since the so-called ‘users’ movement’ advocates a shift towards a modern ‘shared model’ or ‘partnership model’ between health professionals and service users, based on mutual respect for each other's skills and competencies and recognition of the advantages of combining these resources to achieve beneficial outcomes (Simpson & House, 2002; Crawford et al, 2003; Bramesfeld et al 2007; Brimblecombe et al, 2007; Killaspy et al, 2008; Stringer et al, 2008).
Within this methodological framework, it is particularly important not only to combine optimal measures of both the ‘service level’ and the ‘patient level’ (Thornicroft & Tansella 1999) but also to pay attention to (in addition to the traditional outcome dimensions such as clinician-rated symptoms and disability) patients’ self-perceived outcomes, such as self-rated needs for care, subjective quality of life, carer burden and satisfaction with care (Jenkins, 1990; Mirin & Namerow, 1991; Attkisson et al, 1992; Ruggeri & Tansella, 1995; Smith et al, 1997).
Considerable variations in the incidence of psychosis have been observed across countries, in terms of age, gender, immigration status, urbanicity and socioeconomic deprivation.
To evaluate the incidence rate of first-episode psychosis in a large area of north-eastern Italy and the distribution of the above-mentioned risk factors in individuals with psychoses.
Epidemiologically based survey. Over a 3-year period individuals with psychosis on first contact with services were identified and diagnosed according to ICD-10 criteria.
In total, 558 individuals with first-episode psychosis were identified during 3 077 555 person-years at risk. The annual incidence rate per 100 000 was 18.1 for all psychoses, 14.3 for non-affective psychoses and 3.8 for affective psychoses. The rate for all psychoses was higher in young people aged 20–29 (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 4.18, 95% CI 2.77–6.30), immigrants (IRR = 2.26, 95% CI 1.85–2.75) and those living in the most deprived areas (IRR = 2.09, 95% CI 1.54–2.85).
The incidence rate in our study area was lower than that found in other European and North American studies and provides new insights into the factors that may increase and/or decrease risk for developing psychosis.