BACKGROUND: Most western countries have disability benefit schemes ostensibly based upon requiring (1) a work inhibiting functional limitation that (2) can be attributed to a diagnosable condition, injury or disease. The present paper examines to what extent current practice matches the core premises of this model by examining how much poorer the perceived health of disability benefit recipients is, compared to the employed and the unemployed, and further to examine to what extent any poorer perceived health among benefit recipients can be attributed to mental or somatic illness and symptoms. METHODS: Information on disability benefit recipiency was obtained from Norwegian registry data, and merged with health information from the Hordaland Health Study (HUSK) in Western Norway, 1997-99. Participants (N = 14 946) aged 40-47 were assessed for perceived physical and mental health (Short Form-12), somatic symptoms, mental health, and self reported somatic conditions and diseases treated with medication. Differences associated with employment status were tested in chi-square and t-tests, as well as multivariate and univariate regression models to adjust for potential confounders. RESULTS: Recipients of disability benefits (n = 1,351) had poorer perceived physical and mental health than employees (n = 13,156); group differences were 1.86 and 0.74 pooled standard deviations respectively. Self reported somatic diagnoses, mental health and symptoms accounted for very little of this difference in perceived health. The unemployed (n = 439) were comparable to the employed rather than the recipients of disability benefits. CONCLUSION: Recipients of disability benefits have poor perceived health compared to both the employed and the unemployed. Surprisingly little of this difference can be ascribed to respondents' descriptions of their illnesses and symptoms. Even allowing for potential underascertainment of condition severity, this finding supports the increasing focus on non-disease oriented contributing factors. Rehabilitation efforts aiming at return to work should have a strong focus on the patients' perceptions of their health in addition to symptom relief and social factors.
BACKGROUND: If the SF-36 summary scores are used as health status measures for the purpose of measuring health inequality it is relevant to be informed about the sources of the inequality in order to be able to target the specific aspects of health with the largest impact. METHODS: Data were from a Danish health survey on health status, health behaviour and socio-economic background. Decompositions of concentration indices were carried out to examine the sources of income-related inequality in physical and mental health, using the physical and mental health summary scores from SF-36. RESULTS: The analyses show how the different subscales from SF-36 and various explanatory variables contribute to overall inequality in physical and mental health. The decompositions contribute with information about the importance of the different aspects of health and off-setting effects that would otherwise be missed in the aggregate summary scores. However, the complicated scoring mechanism of the summary scores with negative coefficients makes it difficult to interpret the contributions and to draw policy implications. CONCLUSION: Decomposition techniques provide insights to how subscales contribute to income-related inequality when SF-36 summary scores are used.
We report patterns of hospitalization in schizophrenic psychoses by age 34 in a longitudinal population-based cohort. We test the predictive ability of various demographic and illness-related variables on patterns of hospitalization, with a special focus on the length of the first psychiatric hospitalization. All living subjects of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort with DSM-III-R schizophrenia (n=88) and other schizophrenia spectrum cases (n=27) by the year 1997 in the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register were followed for an average of 10.5 years. Measures of psychiatric hospitalization included time to re-hospitalization (as continuous and as re-hospitalization within 2 years) and the number of hospital episodes. Length of the first hospitalization, other illness-related and various socio-demographic predictors were used to predict hospitalization patterns. After adjusting for gender, age at first admission and number of hospital days a short (1-14 days) first hospitalization (reference >30 days; adjusted odds ratio 6.39; 95% CI 2.00-20.41) and familial risk of psychosis (OR 3.36; 1.09-10.39) predicted re-hospitalization within 2 years. A short first hospitalization also predicted frequent psychiatric admissions defined as the first three admissions within 3 years (OR 13.77; 3.92-48.36). A short first hospitalization was linked to increased risk of re-hospitalizations. Although short hospitalization is recommended by several guidelines, there may be a group of patients with schizophrenic psychoses in which too short a hospitalization may lead to inadequate treatment response.
The aim of this study was to describe regional differences in the incidence of disability pensions (DPs) with psychiatric diagnoses, and to determine whether these differences were related to age and/or gender. We compared the incidence rates of new DPs including all diagnoses, with DP with psychiatric diagnoses in Norwegian regions from 1988 to 2000. The population at risk was all individuals aged 16-67 in each year. Individuals already on DP were excluded. Cases were collected from the Norwegian National Insurance Administration. The results showed that the incidence rate ratio (IRR; Norway reference) for DP with psychiatric diagnoses was most elevated for men 1.41 (95% CI 1.27-1.58) and women 1.48 (95% CI 1.34-1.64) living in the most rural region. Men in the urban area had a higher IRR, 1.33 (95% CI 1.26-1.40), than urban women, 1.02 (95% CI 0.96-1.07). The incidence more than doubled in the youngest age group (16-29 years) and decreased in the oldest age group (60-67 years) between 1988 and 2000. The findings conclude that individuals living in semi-rural regions of Norway are more likely to receive a DP with a psychiatric diagnosis than those living in urban areas. Large gender differences were found in the urban area. Further research is needed to investigate the impact of the psychiatric healthcare system and access to rehabilitation on psychiatric disability.
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of sickness absence with psychiatric diagnoses from 1994-2000, and the distribution across gender, age groups, diagnostic groups and regions in a general population. METHODS: The population at risk was defined as all individuals aged 16-66 years who were entitled to sickness benefits in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000 (n = 2,282,761 in 2000). All individuals with a full-time disability pension were excluded. The study included approximately 77% of the Norwegian population aged 16-66 years. For each year, the study base started on 1 January and ended on 31 December. Individuals that were sick-listed for more than 14/16 consecutive days with a psychiatric diagnosis on their medical certificate were selected as cases. Included in this study were data for Norway, the capital city Oslo and five regions in the southeast of the country. RESULTS: Sickness absence with psychiatric diagnoses increased in all age groups, in women and men, and in all regions. At the national level, the cumulative incidence increased in women from 1.7% in 1994 to 4.6% in 2000, and in men from 0.8% in 1994 to 2.2% in 2000. The highest cumulative incidence was found in middle-aged women and men (30-59 years). Women had a higher incidence than men in all stratification groups. The cumulative incidences in 2000 varied between 4.6% to 5.6% in women in the different regions, and for men the corresponding figures were 2.1% to 3.2%. Throughout the four years studied, women in Oslo had more than twice as high incidence levels of sickness absence with alcohol and drug diagnoses as the country as a whole. There were some differences between regions in sickness absence with specific psychiatric diagnoses, but they were small and most comparisons were non-significant. CONCLUSION: Sickness absence with psychiatric diagnoses increased between 1994 and 2000 in Norway. The increase was highest in the middle-aged, and in women. Few regional differences were found. That the increase pervaded all stratification groups supports general explanations of the increase, such as changes in attitudes to psychiatric disorders in both patients and doctors, and increased mental distress probably associated with societal changes at a more structural level.
OBJECTIVE: Knowledge of background and occupational related factors of mentally disordered offenders are missing. It is essential to understand these issues when planning discharge from forensic psychiatric hospital care to enable community dwelling. AIMS: One aim was to investigate mentally disordered offenders' background factors, confidence in and how they value occupations. Another aim was to investigate MDOs background factors' in relation to and the influences on Occupational Performance and Social Participation. METHOD: Data was collected with an explorative, correlative design after informed consent, from 74 mentally disordered offenders (mean age 34,2) cared for in forensic psychiatric hospitals. Assessments were Allen Cognitive Level Screen, Capability to Perform Daily Occupations, Interview Schedule of Social Interaction, Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life, Self-efficacy Scale and Importance scale. Eight background factors were assembled from the individual forensic psychiatric investigation. FINDINGS: Most of the investigated background factors relate to and half of them influence occupational performance, particular the cognitive aspect of occupational performance. The influences on occupation originate from adulthood, such as suffering from schizophrenia, psycho/social problems, and having performed violent crimes. These findings indicate that staff in forensic hospital care should initiate rehabilitation with knowledge about MDOs' complex daily occupations. For avoiding information bias, information gathering preceding treatment planning should be performed in collaboration between caring staff and mentally disordered offenders.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe factors that influenced first-time mothers' choice of and experiences during the first postnatal week, after early discharge without a domiciliary visit by the midwife. DESIGN: Interviews were analysed using content analysis. SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: The nine participants were recruited from the Maternity Department at a University Hospital in Sweden. The catchment area included both an urban and rural population. MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS: One main category and three subcategories emerged from the text. The main category was a feeling of confidence and security and the subcategories were being able to meet the needs of the baby, feeling 'back to normal' and receiving support. KEY CONCLUSION: Factors that influenced first-time mothers' choice and experience of early discharge were their sense of confidence and security, that they had support from their partner and that they could trust the follow-up organization. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: A booked telephone call and a follow-up visit to the midwife can be sufficient as a programme for first-time mothers choosing early discharge.
The aim of this study was to ascertain the perceptions of parents, with first time major depression, regarding the social support for themselves and their children. Eighteen parents, with children under the age of 19, were interviewed on admission to an inpatient unit and of these 16 were followed up 1 year later. In addition, the severity of parents' depression and their functional status was measured. The results showed that although the parents did regain their mental health and functional capacity to a certain extent, they nevertheless remained in a vulnerable position, increasing the strain on the whole family. The parents' and their children's social support was low and came mostly from outside the family. The parents were worried about their children, due to problems related to the depressive episode as well as ordinary teenage rebellion. Important questions concerned practical problems such as whether there was someone to take care of the children if the parent is incapable of doing so. There were also concerns pertaining to how the changed family situation might interfere with the child's natural development or whether depression was a question of heredity. This highlights the need to investigate the importance of social support for the family as a whole when one of them suffers from depression. There is a need for improved treatment of parental depression to reduce symptoms such as decreased functional status that may impair parenting. The study also emphasises the need for healthcare practitioners to assess multiple aspects of social support so that care planning will target all relevant domains.
OBJECTIVES: The aims of the study were to: (i) test the reliability of a health-related quality of life (HRQOL) instrument [Swedish Health-Related Quality of Life Survey (SWED-QUAL)] on women patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD); (ii) compare their HRQOL to a normal population group comparable in age; and (iii) test for subgroup differences in HRQOL considering psychiatric DSM axis-I comorbidity. METHOD: The study was conducted in connection to a randomized, controlled trial of psychotherapy for women BPD patients. Seventy-five women with BPD diagnosis were administered the SWED-QUAL. Statistic reliability was evaluated with inter-item correlations, total-item correlations and internal consistency criterions. The BPD patients' SWED-QUAL results were compared with data extracted from a published study and subgroup differences due to axis-I comorbidity were analysed. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: SWED-QUAL could be considered as an instrument with acceptable reliability when assessing HRQOL in BPD patients. The BPD patients suffered significant impairments in HRQOL overall health dimensions compared to normal population. There were no subgroup differences due to axis-I comorbidity, which indicate that BPD in itself might be a predictor of substantial HRQOL impairment.
AIM: The main purpose was to examine if interpersonal relations, mental distress, somatic symptoms and health behaviours could be protective or risk factors for the subjective well-being of 12-year-old school children. METHODS: After ethical and parental permission a questionnaire was completed by 807 pupils in the sixth grade of 18 randomised schools in seven rural and urban districts in the north-west area of Stockholm. The questionnaire was a modified version of the WHO Health Behaviour in School-Ages Children Study and the Youth Self-Report Questionnaire. Well-being was measured by the question, 'How are you these days'? Measures of protective or risk factors were relations to parents, teacher/schoolwork and peers, eating and safety habits, somatic symptoms, anxious/depressed and aggressiveness. RESULTS: Logistic regressions were performed with well-being as dependent variable before and after adjustment for gender, which was the only significant background factor. Finally, a multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted with gender and the six significantly related predictors as independent variables. In the multiple model, relations to teacher/school and peers, eating habits, anxious/depressed and somatic symptoms were associated with well-being and yielded significant odds ratios. CONCLUSIONS: Relations to teacher/school, relations to peers and good eating habits could be protective factors for subjective well-being, while somatic and anxious/depressed symptoms may be risk factors for ill-being. This indicates an increased need for interpersonal relations and mental health-oriented, promotive interventions in schools.
BACKGROUND: Infections during fetal life or neonatal period, including infections with Toxoplasma gondii, may be associated with a risk for schizophrenia and other mental disorders. The objectives of this study were to study the association between serological markers for maternal and neonatal infection and the risk for schizophrenia, related psychoses, and affective disorders in a national cohort of newborns. METHODS: This study was a cohort-based, case-control study combining data from national population registers and patient registers and a national neonatal screening biobank in Denmark. Patients included persons born in Denmark in 1981 or later followed up through 1999 with respect to inpatient or outpatient treatment for schizophrenia or related disorders (ICD-10 F2) or affective disorders (ICD-10 F3). RESULTS: Toxoplasma gondii immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels corresponding to the upper quartile among control subjects were significantly associated with schizophrenia risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.79, p = .045) after adjustment for urbanicity of place of birth, year of birth, gender, and psychiatric diagnoses among first-degree relatives. There was no significant association between any marker of infection and other schizophrenia-like disorders or affective disorders. CONCLUSIONS: Our study supports an association between Toxoplasma gondii and early-onset schizophrenia. Further studies are needed to establish if the association is causal and if it generalizes to cases with onset after age 18.
Factors that explain the variance in quality of life among older adults with osteoarthritis were investigated. Individuals with osteoarthritis (n = 168) had more pain, functional limitations, and lower quality of life (physical component) than those without osteoarthritis (n = 246). No significant differences between the groups were found related to depressed mood and mental components of quality of life. Quality of life was associated with pain, functional limitations, and depressed mood in both groups. It is important to identify these problems when caring for older adults, and special attention should be given to individuals with osteoarthritis because of their higher degree of pain and functional limitations.
BACKGROUND: Physical exercise is useful for individuals with mental disorders with additional substance dependency or abuse. Many exercise actively while in institution, but a major challenge is to continue after discharge. Many patients are isolated and lonely and find it hard to motivate themselves to exercise on their own. MATERIAL AND METHODS: In Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway, the problem was dealt with through a training program of exercise contacts. These are social support persons who were thus assigned a new function. By way of a 40-hour course that covered physical activity, psychological problems, and substance abuse and dependency, lay people were trained to help people in their home environment. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: By the end of 2005, almost 300 exercise contacts, living in 25 of the 26 municipalities in the county, had passed the course exam. Their expertise is highly demanded and more courses have been requested. The course evaluations have been quite positive. In particular, the practical instructions about how to exercise, in combination with updated theory on substance abuse/dependence and mental disorders, were highly appreciated. Clients were helped to continue with regular physical activity and they have appreciated the improved physical and mental health that was associated with regular exercise. Moreover, the exercise contacts help clients break social isolation and have given them access to the common social arenas.
Forty-one males with drug abuse who had tattoos with designs related to drug use were selected from a larger sample of tattooed males in forensic psychiatric wards, prisons and military recruitment centers during the period 1986-2000 in the former Soviet Union. Two-thirds of the tattoo images were related to a specific drug, some served to hide signs of repeated drug use, others to identify ideal sites for injection. Knowledge of these details may be helpful to clinicians, although images may be influenced by current trends.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: Suicides cluster in both families and persons with psychiatric disorders and socioeconomic disadvantages. This study compares these factors between suicide cases, their siblings, and population based controls in an attempt to evaluate both the familial and the individual element of these factors. DESIGN: Nested case-control study. Information on causes of death, psychiatric admission, marital status, children, and socioeconomic factors was obtained from routine registers. SETTING: Denmark. PARTICIPANTS: 985 suicide cases, 1104 sex-age (+/-3 years) matched siblings, and 16 619 controls. MAIN RESULTS: The suicide rate ratios obtained from the case-sibling and the case-control analysis, respectively, were of similar magnitude. For example, in the case-sibling analysis the adjusted suicide rate ratios associated with discharge from a psychiatric hospital within the previous 365 days, being unemployed the previous year, having a postgraduate degree and being single were 42.13 (95% CI 17.75 to 100.02), 1.78 (1.35 to 2.36), 0.51 (0.21 to 1.26), and 2.69 (1.91 to 3.79), respectively. The corresponding rate ratios obtained from the case-control analysis were 47.91 (35.41 to 64.83), 1.76 (1.49 to 2.08), 0.45 (0.26 to 0.76), and 2.39 (1.87 to 3.07). Moreover, the analogous ratios when comparing siblings and controls were 1.98 (1.08 to 3.63), 1.22 (1.06 to 1.41), 0.65 (0.44 to 0.95), and 0.89 (0.75 to 1.06). CONCLUSIONS: People who commit suicide deviate similarly from siblings and controls in exposure to hospitalised psychiatric disorders and socioeconomic disadvantages, although these factors contribute to the familial aggregation of suicides.
BACKGROUND: Social network has considerable impact on physical and mental health. Patients experiencing first-episode psychosis early in adult life may experience severe problems concerning development and maintenance of their social network. METHODS: A total of 547 first-episode psychotic patients (18-45) were randomised to standard or integrated treatment, (ACT, social skills training and family intervention), and followed up at 2 years. RESULTS: Service use or psychotic symptom score did not influence the social network size, measured after the first 2 years of treatment. Small network size was associated with long duration of untreated psychosis (DUP), poor premorbid adjustment, male gender and severe negative symptoms. The number of friends at 2-year follow-up was predicted by age, A-level status, negative symptoms and number of friends at entry, while the determinants for number of family contacts were age, gender, disorganised dimension and family contacts at entry. CONCLUSIONS: Premorbid functioning, network size at entry and DUP is closely related to small social network size. The integrated psychosocial treatment programme was not sufficient to address this problem.
The structural relations between patient experiences with information provided by hospital staff, coping behaviour and changes in self-rated health were studied in a cohort of people with chronic illness (n=556) over a period of 2 years. A structural equation approach was applied to model cross-sectional and longitudinal effects. Positive experiences with information were cross-sectionally but not longitudinally associated with improved self-rated health. Patient experiences with information are not related to avoidance coping, but positive experiences contribute to more frequent use of supportant coping. The findings in the present study indicate that measures of patient experiences with information are not merely a reflection of patients' health or coping behaviour. More theoretical work is required to describe the relationships between different patient reported outcomes. The insight into mechanisms underlying changes in physical and mental health in chronic illness could be further improved by evaluating the effects of specific educational and psychosocial interventions in a longitudinal design.
In a cross-sectional study, we sent a self-administered questionnaire to all the women's shelters in Norway to describe health-related quality of life among women who had experienced violence from an intimate partner. Every woman who could understand Norwegian and was staying at a women's shelter in Norway for more than 1 week from October 2002 to May 2003 was asked to participate. We described violence by intimate partners by using the Severity of Violence against Women Scale and the Psychological Maltreatment of Women Index. We used the SF-36 Health Survey to measure health-related quality of life. These women experienced a multitude of threats and actual physical and psychological violence during their partnership. Their health-related quality of life was low and significantly (p
BACKGROUND: The 'odd' or 'Cluster A' personality disorders (PDs) - paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal PDs - were created in DSM-III with little empirical foundation. We have examined the relationship between the genetic and environmental risk factors for dimensional representations of these three personality disorders. METHOD: These personality disorders were assessed using the Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality (SIDP-IV) in 1386 young adult twin pairs from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health Twin Panel. Using Mx, a single-factor independent pathway twin model was fitted to the number of endorsed criteria for the three disorders. RESULTS: The best-fit model included genetic and unique environmental common factors and genetic and unique environmental effects specific to each personality disorder. Total heritability was modest for these personality disorders and ranged from 21% to 28%. Loadings on the common genetic and unique environmental factors were substantially higher for schizotypal than for paranoid or schizoid PD. The proportion of genetic liability shared with all Cluster A disorders was estimated at 100, 43 and 26% respectively for schizotypal, paranoid and schizoid PDs. CONCLUSION: In support of the validity of the Cluster A construct, dimensional representations of schizotypal, paranoid and schizoid PD are all modestly heritable and share a portion of their genetic and environmental risk factors. No evidence was found for shared environmental or sex effects for these PDs. Schizotypal PD most closely reflects the genetic and environmental liability common to all three Cluster A disorders. These results should be interpreted in the context of the limited power of this sample.
The aims of this study were to assess the frequency and impact of psychiatric symptoms among adolescents with epilepsy in a general population, and compare the findings with those for adolescents without epilepsy. The data were collected through the Health Profiles for Children and Youth in Akershus Study. The data were cross-sectional and based on self-reports from adolescents (13-16 years of age). To assess psychiatric symptoms, we used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Self Report (SDQ-S). A total of 11,021 pupils were invited to participate, and 9424 responded to the questionnaire (response rate=86%). We found that adolescents with epilepsy (124) from an unselected group obtained a significantly higher symptom score on the SDQ-S than those without epilepsy, indicating a higher incidence of psychiatric symptoms. The adolescents with epilepsy also reported a greater impact of their perceived difficulties on their daily life than did adolescents without epilepsy. The study illustrates the need for developing better strategies to detect and prevent psychiatric problems in adolescents with epilepsy.