Large social networks tied to better outcomes in schizophrenia

  • Degnan A & al.
  • Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol
  • 27 Jun 2018

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • 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

Study design

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis of 16 studies including 1929 patients with schizophrenia from January 1970 to June 2016.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • 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).

Limitations

  • Risk for bias.

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