Published online Sep 22, 2013. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v3.i3.74
Revised: July 30, 2013
Accepted: August 4, 2013
Published online: September 22, 2013
AIM: To explore (1) intergroup differences in comfortable interpersonal distances (CIDs) and the use of coping strategies; (2) the association of these parameters with individual symptomatology; and (3) the interplay between CIDs and coping styles in patients with depression and schizophrenia.
METHODS: The parameters of interest were assessed by means of standardized questionnaires: CID and Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations. Psychopathology was evaluated with the Beck Depression Inventory and Positive and Negative Syndromes Scale. ANOVA, Pearson’s correlations and multiple regression analyses were used to examine relationships among the variables.
RESULTS: Compared with controls, depressed patients were more distanced from family members, significant others and self-images, whereas patients with schizophrenia were less distanced from neutral and threat-related stimuli. Distancing from self-images was mostly associated with depression severity in depressed patients, whereas distancing from hostile and threat-related stimuli with the severity of psychotic and affective symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Both patient groups used more emotion-oriented than task-oriented and avoidance-oriented coping strategies. Self-distancing among patients with schizophrenia was positively associated with the use of the social diversion coping, implying social support seeking.
CONCLUSION: Patients with depression and schizophrenia use different maladaptive emotion - regulation strategies to cope with their symptoms and related distress. Training in stress management might provide these patients with skills for more effective emotion regulation.
Core tip: This paper takes a unique approach by investigating two emotion-regulation strategies, interpersonal distancing and coping with stress, in patients diagnosed with both adjustment disorder with depression and schizophrenia, and the relationships of these strategies to symptomatology of the disorders. The findings generally supported the hypotheses that the patient groups would display greater interpersonal distances from both positively and negatively valenced stimuli, and greater use of emotion-focused coping than controls. The findings suggest that patients with depression and schizophrenia use different maladaptive emotion-regulation strategies to cope with their symptoms and related distress. Training in stress management might provide patients with skills for more effective emotion regulation.