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Anxiety Symptoms and Quality of Life in Middle-Aged and Older Outpatients With Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64:1476-1482

Objective: This study examined whether anxiety symptoms make an independent contribution to poorer quality of life among middle-aged and older outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

Method: We evaluated data from an ongoing study of 163 older patients with DSM-III-R or DSM-IV schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who were enrolled in research at the University of California, San Diego, Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research from October 1992 to April 1998. Measures used were the anxiety, somatization, obsessive-compulsive, and phobic anxiety subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory. We performed hierarchical multiple regressions with forced entry of variables to determine whether anxiety symptoms significantly predicted poorer health-related quality of life (measured by 2 scales) after controlling for demographic variables, akathisia, cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms, and overall psychopathology.

Results: Anxiety symptoms were associated with poorer outcomes on overall quality of well-being and subscales representing vitality, social functioning, and role functioning limitations due to physical problems. In most cases, the proportion of variance in quality of life accounted for by anxiety symptoms was greater than that accounted for by depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: Results suggest that anxiety symptoms have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of middle-aged and older patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.