Journal Article

Health Status of Individuals With Serious Mental Illness

Faith B. Dickerson, Clayton H. Brown, Gail L. Daumit, Fang LiJuan, Richard W. Goldberg, Karen Wohlheiter and Lisa B. Dixon

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 32, issue 3, pages 584-589
Published in print July 2006 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online February 2006 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI:
Health Status of Individuals With Serious Mental Illness

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We examined indices of the health of persons with serious mental illness. A sample of 100 adults with schizophrenia and 100 with major mood disorder were recruited from randomly selected outpatients who were receiving community-based psychiatric treatment. Participants were surveyed about health indicators using items from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study III and the National Health Interview Survey. Their responses were compared with those of matched samples from the general population surveys. A total of 1% of persons with serious mental illness, compared with 10% from the general population sample, met criteria for all 5 of selected health indicators: nonsmoker, exercise that meets recommended standards, good dentition, absence of obesity, and absence of serious medical co-occurring illness. Within the mentally ill group, educational level, but not a diagnosis of schizophrenia versus mood disorder, was independently associated with a composite measure of health behaviors. We conclude that an examination of multiple health indicators may be used to measure overall health status in persons with serious mental illness.

Keywords: schizophrenia; physical health; affective disorders

Journal Article.  3815 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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