Social Support and Psychosocial Functioning in Patients with Affective Disorders
Background: Adequate social support is important for optimum psychosocial functioning of patients with mental disorders. However, this aspect has not been well investigated among patients with affective disorders in Nigeria. Aim: to investigate the perception of helpfulness of the various sources of social support and its relationship to psychosocial functioning among patients managed for affective disorders. Method: The Derogatis Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale (PAIS) and a Social Support Scale were administered on 50 patients managed for affective disorders at a Nigerian teaching hospital. Results: The proportions of the patients who perceived the nine sources of social support as very helpful were low (2-32%). Neighbours, friends and church/mosque members were perceived as very helpful than relatives, spouses and children. Workers engaged in the care of the patients (doctors, nurses, social workers and psychologists) were perceived as very helpful by the lowest proportions of the sample (2-12%). Low social support correlated with low functioning on four domains of PAIS - Vocational Environment, Sexual Relations, social Environment and Psychological Distress. Conclusion: It is important to modify the possible factors, which may make these desirable sources offer inadequate support.