FAMILY SUPPORT AND CLINICAL CORRELATES AMONG PATIENTS WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA IN A NEUROPSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL IN NIGERIA
In developing countries, families play a central role in caring for the mentally ill. However, the assessment of the level of family support in relation to the sociodemographic and clinical factors of schizophrenia patients have not been well researched. This study is a furtherance of the management schizophrenia patients by assessing their level of perceived family support and its relationship to their socio-demographic and clinical variables. It is a cross-sectional descriptive study of 100 patients with schizophrenia attending the outpatient clinic of a specialist psychiatric hospital, for follow up care. Diagnoses were based on ICD-10 Diagnostic criteria for research. The questionnaires administered to the participants consists of clinical and socio-demographic factors and self-rated 20-item Perceived Social Support-family scale. Most participants had strong family support (96%) while the rest had weak family support. The unmarried participants were associated with higher family support scores than the married. (Mann Whitney U=548.00, p=0.03). There was no relationship between family support and age or duration of illness and treatment. It is important to strengthen the existing family support and to utilize it in the management of patients with schizophrenia. This will reduce the burden on families and contribute to better outcome measures among schizophrenia patients.
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