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Positive mental health in schizophrenia and healthy comparison groups: relationships with overall health and biomarkers.



Positive psychological factors (PPFs) have been reported to have a significant impact on health in the general population. However, little is known about the relationship of these factors with mental and physical health in schizophrenia.


One hundred and thirty-five outpatients with schizophrenia and 127 healthy comparison subjects (HCs), aged 26-65 years, were evaluated with scales of resilience, optimism, happiness, and perceived stress. Measures of mental and physical health were also obtained. Regression analyses examined associations of a PPF composite with health variables.


Relative to the HCs, the schizophrenia group had lower levels of PPFs. However, there was considerable heterogeneity, with over one-third of schizophrenia participants having values within the 'normative' range. The PPF composite was positively related to mental and physical health variables and with biomarkers of inflammation and insulin resistance. The relationship between PPFs and mental health was particularly strong for individuals with schizophrenia.


A sizable minority of adults with chronic schizophrenia have levels of resilience, optimism, happiness, and perceived stress similar to HCs. Psychosocial interventions to enhance PPFs should be tested in patients with serious mental illnesses, with the goal of improving their mental health (beyond controlling symptoms of psychosis) and their physical health.

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