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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 37 (1995) 2

New research

Quality of life of psychiatric patients who depend on long-term out-patient care. A conceptual exploration

W.A. Boevink, J.R.L.M. Wolf, Ch. van Nieuwenhuizen, A.H. Schene

In order to verify the meaning and the aspects of quality of life for a population of long-term mentally ill patients in Dutch society, the technique of Concept Mapping was used. Concept Mapping is a structured method in which complex concepts can be mapped out. This structured method offers the participants in the mental health system, i.e. patients, significant others and professionals, the opportunity to specify their ideas about what constitutes the quality of life of chronically mentally ill patients. Based on a total number of 79 statements, a quality of life concept was constructed comprising nine domains and four dimensions. In addition, these 9 domains were ranked according to their importance. A comparison of the three participating groups shows that patients perceive the quality of life concept in a rather individualistic way. According to the patients, it is important to feel in control over one s own life, to have a future, and to learn to take care of oneself in an adequate way. Family members and professionals, however, stress the importance of professional care, a caring environment and social support.