Improvement in Health-Related Quality of Life Among Adults With Serious Mental Illness Receiving Inpatient Treatment: A Prospective Cohort Study

Objective: This study examined changes in health-related quality of life in adult inpatients with serious mental illness engaged in a 6- to 8-week intensive treatment program.

Method: Admission and discharge assessment with the MOS 36-item Short-Form Health Survey was completed (June 2010–June 2012) for 410 adults aged 18–68 years. Paired t tests and effect size estimates were calculated for the overall sample, and reliable change index scores and clinical significance were calculated to estimate individual-level response and recovery rates. Hierarchical stepwise regression analyses were conducted to explore patient pretreatment characteristics, including total number of DSM-IV-TR diagnoses, that influence treatment response.

Results: Large effect size improvements were demonstrated for the Mental Component Summary score (Cohen d = 1.5), including subjective ratings of vitality (Cohen d = 1.1), social functioning (Cohen d = 1.3), role-emotional functioning (Cohen d = 1.3), and mental health (Cohen d = 1.3). Equivocal findings for change in physical health were demonstrated, with the majority of patients demonstrating no significant change in function (t409 = 0.14, P = .89) but approximately equal numbers of patients demonstrating improvement and deterioration. The pretreatment characteristic of a tendency to be interpersonally distant, cold, and disengaged was predictive of a poorer outcome on Mental Component Summary treatment response (P < .001).

Conclusions: In light of a heavy burden of illness and high psychiatric comorbidity of this sample, treatment response was generally positive for improvement in mental health functioning. This study adds to a growing body of evidence indicating robust treatment response even for those with serious mental illness when treatment is intensive and multimodal.

J Clin Psychiatry 2015;76(5):e632–e638

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.14m09041