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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.
To develop and validate two new standardised measures assessing, respectively, experienced discrimination (Covid-19 Experienced DISCrimination scale, CEDISC) and internalised stigma (COvid-19 INternalised Stigma scale, COINS) in people who had been infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or had developed coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) disease.
Both the CEDISC and the COINS were developed in Italian and tested for ease of use, comprehension, acceptability, the relevance of items and response options within a focus group session. Online cross-sectional validation survey was conducted among adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who developed Covid-19 disease, members of a closed Facebook discussion group in Italy. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) 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, 579 participants completed the CEDISC, 519 also completed the COINS, 155 completed the retest for both scales after two weeks. The 12 items of the CEDISC converged over a 2-factor solution (‘social life’ and ‘close relations’) accounting for 49.2% of the variance (KMO = 0.894; Bartlett's test p < 0.001); the 13 items of the COINS converged over a 3-factor solution (‘self-perception’, ‘close relations’ and ‘social life’) accounting for 67.7% (KMO = 0.827; Bartlett's test p < 0.001). Cronbach's α was 0.848 for the CEDISC, and 0.837 for the COINS. The CEDISC showed three items (25%) with kappa between 0.61 and 0.80 and seven (58.4%) between 0.41 and 0.60, with only two items scoring 0.21 and 0.40; the COINS had ten items (76.9%) with kappa ranging from 0.41 to 0.60, and three items below 0.31. ICC was 0.906 (95% CI, 0.871–0.932) for the, CEDISC and 0.860 (95% CI, 0.808–0.898) for the COINS. Kendall's tau-b ranged from 0.360 to 0.556 (p < 0.001) for the CEDISC and from 0.290 to 0.606 (p < 0.001) for the COINS.
Both the CEDISC and the COINS are two valid and reliable scales to be used in studies examining the role of stigma and discrimination of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19 patients, and in research evaluating interventions designed to mitigate stigma in this population.
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.
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.
No study has so far explored differences in discrimination reported by
people with major depressive disorder (MDD) across countries and
To (a) compare reported discrimination across different countries, and
(b) explore the relative weight of individual and contextual factors in
explaining levels of reported discrimination in people with MDD.
Cross-sectional multisite international survey (34 countries worldwide)
of 1082 people with MDD. Experienced and anticipated discrimination were
assessed by the Discrimination and Stigma Scale (DISC). Countries were
classified according to their rating on the Human Development Index
(HDI). Multilevel negative binomial and Poisson models were used.
People living in ‘very high HDI’ countries reported higher discrimination
than those in ‘medium/low HDI’ countries. Variation in reported
discrimination across countries was only partially explained by
individual-level variables. The contribution of country-level variables
was significant for anticipated discrimination only.
Contextual factors play an important role in anticipated discrimination.
Country-specific interventions should be implemented to prevent
discrimination towards people with MDD.
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.
Aims — To investigate in persons with mental disorders 1) the patterns of clinical course and their frequencies, 2) the impact of clinical course on two social dimensions of outcome, such as disability and quality of life. Methods — Study conducted with a longitudinal design in the “real world” of community mental health services. Clinical course was retrospectively assessed by using an instrument developed by our group, taking into account previous literature in this area; disability and quality of life were measured, respectively, with the WHO—Disability Assessment Schedule and the Lancashire Quality of Life Profile. Results — In patients with non affective psychosis, continuous and episodic course showed the same tendency to occur, whereas in subjects with affective disorders (either psychotic or neurotic) episodic course was more frequent. Continuous course was associated with higher levels of disability and lower quality of life in psychotic patients, while a poorer quality of life in some areas was associated with episodic course in patients with non psychotic disorders. Conclusions — The impact of clinical course on social disability and quality of life is different depending upon the specific diagnostic category. This suggests that specific and individualised interventions should be provided in order to prevent the negative impact of clinical course on life conditions of persons with mental disorders.
Declaration of Interest
the study has been supported by a Grant from MURST 60% to Prof. Mirella Ruggeri and Fondi 1% per la Ricerca Sanitaria Finalizzata 2001 Ministry of Health, to Professor M. Tansella.
Staff burnout is a critical issue for mental healthcare delivery, as it can lead to decreased work performance and, ultimately to poorer treatment outcomes.
To explore the relative weight of job-related characteristics and perceived organisational factors in predicting burnout in staff working in community-based psychiatric services.
A representative sample of 2000 mental health staff working in the Veneto region, Italy, participated. Burnout and perceived organisational factors were assessed by using the Organizational Checkup Survey.
Overall, high levels of job distress affected nearly two-thirds of the psychiatric staff and one in five staff members suffered from burnout. Psychiatrists and social workers reported the highest levels of burnout, and support workers and psychologists, the lowest. Burnout was mostly predicted by a higher frequency of face-to-face interaction with users, longer tenure in mental healthcare, weak work group cohesion and perceived unfairness.
Improving the workplace atmosphere within psychiatric services should be one of the most important targets in staff burnout prevention strategies. The potential benefits of such programmes may, in turn, have a favourable impact on patient outcomes.
There is little knowledge of the predictors of objective and subjective quality of life.
To describe changes at 2 and 6 years in objective and subjective quality of life in 261 individuals attending a community mental health service and to identify predictors of change in each life domain.
Prospective study of demographic, diagnostic and service utilisation characteristics, psychopathology, functioning, disability, self-esteem, affect balance and service satisfaction.
Female gender, unmarried status, older age, less education and greater disability predicted a worsening of objective quality of life over time, but explain a small amount of variance. The variance in subjective quality of life was higher (>40%). Greater clinician-rated anxiety and depressive symptoms had a negative effect on satisfaction with health and general well-being. Psychological status, self-esteem and satisfaction with service were the most important predictors in almost all subjective domains; these variables should be important targets for treatment.
This study is the first to provide information to enable clinicians to make prognostic judgements about quality of life and plan effective therapeutic strategies to improve quality of life.
Background. Subjective quality of life has gained a crucial role as a global measure of outcome in mental health care. This study aimed to investigate the impact of meeting needs for care, as assessed by both patients and mental health professionals, to improve the subjective quality of life in a sample of patients receiving community-based psychiatric care.
Method. The study was conducted using a 4-year prospective longitudinal design. A cohort of patients from the South-Verona Community-based Mental Health Service (CMHS) was assessed at baseline and follow-up using, among other social and clinical measures, the Camberwell Assessment of Need (both staff and patient versions) and the Lancashire Quality of Life Profile. Predictors of changes of subjective quality of life were explored using block-stratified multiple regression procedures.
Results. Improvement in patients' clinical conditions as well as the reduction in patient-rated unmet needs in the social domain predicted an increase in subjective quality of life over 4 years; changes in staff-rated needs did not show any association with changes in subjective quality of life.
Conclusions. Meeting self-perceived social needs, beyond symptoms reduction, seems to be of particular importance for ensuring a better quality of life for people with mental disorders. If the main goal of mental health care is to improve the quality of life of users, a policy of actively addressing patient-rated needs should be implemented.
Care for people with schizophrenia should address a wide range of outcomes, including professional and consumer perspectives.
To measure changes in psychopathology functioning, needs for care and quality of life; to develop predictive models for each outcome domain; and to assess the frequency of ‘good'and ‘poor’ outcomes, as defined in a series of different definitions that use combinations of the four domains measured.
Three-year follow-up of a 1-year-treated prevalence cohort of 107 patients with an ICD–10 diagnosis of schizophrenia attending the South Verona community-based mental health service.
Mean symptom severity and some types of needs for care worsen, but quality of life shows no change. Functioning shows a non-significant trend to deteriorate. Between 32% and 42% of the variance in the four key outcomes was explained by our model. Different definitions of good'and ‘poor’ outcome included 0–31% of patients, depending on the definition used.
The 3-year outcome for schizophrenia depends on the domain of outcome used, whether staff or patient ratings are used and the stringency of the definitions used for good and poor outcome.
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