Gender Differences in Schizophrenia: Examining Long-Term Treatment Outcomes
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave appropriately is affected. A person who is schizophrenic may experience delusions, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, and other cognitive difficulties. Schizophrenia usually appears between late adolescence and early adulthood and can often be a lifelong struggle. In Cechnicki, Bielańska, Mętel, Susz, Błądziński, Plencler-Bańczyk, and Kalisz’s research article Comparison of the long-term treatment outcomes of women and men diagnosed with schizophrenia over a period of 20 years, gender is mentioned as a demographic prognostic factor of schizophrenia. This article explains its research and results about the difference in schizophrenia between women and men diagnosed with schizophrenia over a period of 20 years and how they are responding to long-term treatment.
Summary of Article
There were three objectives identified for this study: to assess and compare the demographic, social, and clinical indicators between women and men during their index psychiatric hospitalization and to assess and compare the clinical and social outcomes of treatment in women and men after 7, 12, and 20 years from index hospitalization and to assess and compare subjective quality of life in women and men after 7, 12, and 20 years from index hospitalization.
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The study initially began with 80 individuals hospitalized at the Psychiatric Clinic of the University Hospital in Cracow who were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The 80 individuals had to meet certain criteria that included being over the age of 18, living in Cracow with family, lack of organic brain disorder and dependence on substances, and the exclusion of mental retardation. Over the course of 20 years, the follow-ups were conducted after 7, 12, and 20 years. However, out of the 80 individuals, 57 patients took part in all the follow-ups.
The total of women equaled 57, and the men equal 23. The study consisted of assessing the number of relapses, the number and duration of rehospitalizations, and the evaluation of social relationships, family, and employment. The researchers invented the Anamnestic and Catamnestic Questionnaire. Additional instruments included the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF), The Cognitive Flexibility Inventory scale (CIF), the Lehman Quality of Life Interview, and the DSM III Axis V social scale.
The article stated that during short and mid-term treatments, women cope better with schizophrenia compared to men.“ Clinical experience indicates that psychotic symptoms in women differ in quality from those displayed by men in terms of their hallucinatory content…….Moreover, calmer behavior of women tends to arouse less unease in their immediate circle, and they have more favorable responses both to pharmacological treatment and in compliance “ (Cechnicki et al. p. 63)
Strengths and Weaknesses of Article
One weakness this article had was that it failed to mention the kind of treatment the patients were receiving. It did not say if they were on any medication or doing any therapies, such as behavior therapy or cognitive therapy. Knowing the kind of treatment each patient was getting may have given a more accurate result for the experiment and can help understand why women cope better than men who are schizophrenic. Another weakness included the women-to-men ratio. There were more women than men. Sixty percent of the individuals were women.
I would not recommend the study to other colleagues. It lacks certain information and still leaves the reader or researcher with an unanswered question. The course of the experiment and study was 20 years, which is a long experiment.
As time progressed, the study concluded that the symptom severity in favor of women faded out after about 20 years of the illness. There was no significant difference in symptoms between men and women after 20 years. Compared to men, women, in terms of terms of social functioning, employment, and subjective quality of life, have a more favorable outcome. The study also showed that men get married more frequently, which improves their social status. (Cechnicki, Bielańska, Mętel, Susz, Błądziński, Plencler-Bańczyk, & Kalisz p. 66)
- Cechnicki, A., Bielańska, A., Mętel, D., Susz, K., Błądziński, P., Plencler-Bańczyk, E., & Kalisz, A. (Year). Comparison of the long-term treatment outcomes of women and men diagnosed with schizophrenia over a period of 20 years. Journal Name