Study of the difference in quality of life and caregiver burden among patients with schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis

Shaista Shaban, Mohd Abrar Ahmad Guroo, Racheal Bashir


Background: Quality of life (QOL) is a measure to see an individual’s adaptation and feeling of wellbeing and adjustment with the surroundings. Schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) both are chronic and disabling disorders supposed to have significant effect on quality of life. Also chronicity and disability of these disorders can be directly proportional to the caregiver burden.

Methods: Comparative study assessing quality of life and caregiver burden between persons with schizophrenia and RA.

Results: 50% of the schizophrenia group as well as the RA group were unemployed, suggesting the magnitude of the disability levels caused by the illness. Only 33% of patients with schizophrenia were married, unlike patients with RA where 83% were married. Of all the four domains of the World Health Organization quality of life instrument (WHO-QOL BREF) both the groups scored highest in the physical domain and least in the psychological domain and the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant in all the four domains. Burden among the caregivers of schizophrenic patients was comparatively high on BAS than caregivers of rheumatoid arthritis. The mean duration of illness in patients with schizophrenia was significantly higher than patients with RA.

Conclusions: RA is a chronic disorder and physical in nature with full insight in the patients. While as schizophrenia is characterized as a chronic mental illness with poor prognosis and no insight. QOL is expected to be less in schizophrenic patients. There is no significant difference in QOL except in physical domain in which patients with schizophrenia scored significantly better than patients with RA. The social domain of QOL was the only one in which schizophrenic patients did poorly, though not statistically significant. Also care giver burden was more among caregivers of schizophrenic patients and that can be attributed to lack of insight.


Rheumatoid arthritis, Quality of life, Schizophrenia, Care giver burden

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