- This meta-analysis suggests that large social networks are associated with better symptomatic and functional outcomes among patients with schizophrenia.
- Psychosocial interventions that target social networks may, therefore, indirectly improve these outcomes.
Why this matters
- Guidelines for the management of schizophrenia and psychosis recommend self-management interventions and peer support for building social support networks.
- Findings suggest a role for network mapping tools which could be used therapeutically to inform more person-centred clinical practice and to measure networks as predictors and outcomes in clinical trials
- Systematic review and meta-analysis of 16 studies including 1929 patients with schizophrenia from January 1970 to June 2016.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- In 5 studies with 467 participants, a significant association was seen between smaller network size and overall psychiatric symptoms (Hedge’s g, 0.53; P=.003).
- 8 studies with 577 participants showed a significant negative association between network size and negative symptoms (Hedge’s g, -0.75; P=.000).
- No significant effect was seen for positive symptoms (Hedge’s g, -0.19; P=.213) and social functioning (Hedge’s g, 0.36; P=.107).
- Risk for bias.