Background: Results from factor analysis studies have suggested that a five-dimensional structure appears to be a better representation of the psychopathological data of the PANSS. The purpose of this study was the detailed investigation of the association of schizophrenia syndromes and single symptoms with quality of life (QOL) in acute and remitted patients. The leading hypotheses were: (1) affective symptoms, especially depression and anxiety, are mostly associated with QOL longitudinally and (2) in the acute phase, QOL is also associated with positive schizophrenia symptoms. Methods: For the present study, schizophrenia and schizophreniform patients were studied on admission, at the end of the acute phase and 6 months after hospitalization. Psychopathology was measured using the PANSS syndromes, QOL was assessed using disease-specific (SWN) and generic (MLDL, EDLQ) scales. Results: Eighty-four patients entered the study and were assessed during the acute phase taking into account their history and actual treatment. Results revealed anxiety as the most important symptom and depression as the most important syndrome associated with different areas of QOL during and after hospitalization. Also cognitive and negative symptoms were associated with different QOL domains, but both positive symptom clusters showed no substantial association with QOL. Conclusions: Results of this longitudinal study investigating psychopathology and QOL in schizophrenia provide further support for the need to consider the psychopathological state and treatment setting when measuring QOL in schizophrenia and the need for a differential analysis of schizophrenia symptoms and QOL in the acute, mid-term and long-term phase. Anxiety reduction should be a critical goal of treatment in order to prevent further QOL impairment.
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