Free will perceptions and psychiatric symptoms in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia

A. Weisman de Mamani, K. Gurak, J. Maura, A. Martinez de Andino, M. J. Weintraub, M. Mejia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Accessible summary: What is known on the subject?: Some research suggests that holding a free will perspective may offer mental health and physical health benefits. What this paper adds to existing knowledge?: This study is the first to examine links between free will perceptions and psychiatric symptoms in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. What are the implications for practice?: Study results suggest that helping people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia to recognize situations where they do have some freedom of choice over their actions and emotional reactions (free will) may assist them in improving their experiences and better managing their symptoms. Introduction: Some research indicates that having a strong sense that one possesses free will may be associated with better psychological and physical health. This study is the first to examine the relationship between free will perceptions and psychiatric symptoms in patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Method: Thirty-two participants were interviewed using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale to assess symptom severity and the Free Will Subscale of the Free Will and Determinism Scale to assess free will perceptions. Results: As hypothesized, a negative association was found between free will perceptions and total symptom severity, though it appears that this was mainly accounted for by positive symptoms. A content analysis was also conducted to qualitatively examine how patients conceptualize the construct of free will and its role in coping with their own mental illness. Discussion: Study results suggest that holding a free will perspective may mitigate psychiatric symptoms in patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Thus, psychiatric nurses and other mental health clinicians may improve current treatments for schizophrenia by helping patients recognize situations where they do have some freedom of choice over their actions and emotional reactions (free will) to stressful life events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-162
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Volume23
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Keywords

  • Coping style
  • Free will
  • Meaning-making
  • Psychiatric symptoms
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

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