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Quality of Life Events in Relation to Psychiatric Symptoms

Igor Grant, MD; Hervey L. Sweetwood, MS; Joel Yager, MD; Marvin Gerst, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(3):335-339. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780280103012.
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• This prospective study explored the relationship of life changes to psychiatric symptom changes in psychiatric outpatients (N = 196) and a comparison group of nonpatients (N = 194). Subjects completed the Schedule of Recent Experiences and a symptom checklist bimonthly for 18 months. At all reporting intervals, symptoms and events were strongly correlated. Undesirable and uncontrollable events related positively and desirable events negatively to symptoms. Among symptoms, those of a dysphoric and somatic nature were most strongly associated with event change. Psychiatric patients also reported more undesirable, more uncontrollable, and fewer desirable events than the comparison group. We conclude that the relationship of life events to symptoms depends on the specific qualities of both events and symptoms. Undesirable and uncontrollable events appear to have a direct, and desirable events an inverse, association with dysphoric and somatic symptoms.


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