Psychosocial difficulties from the perspective of persons with neuropsychiatric disorders

Michaela Coenen, Maria Cabello, Silvia Umlauf, José Luis Ayuso-Mateos, Marta Anczewska, Jouni Tourunen, Matilde Leonardi, Alarcos Cieza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The objective of this study is to determine whether persons with neuropsychiatric disorders experience a common set of psychosocial difficulties using qualitative data from focus groups and individual interviews. Method: The study was performed in five European countries (Finland, Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain) using the focus groups and individual interviews with persons with nine neuropsychiatric disorders (dementia, depression, epilepsy, migraine, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, stroke and substance dependence). Digitally recorded sessions were analysed using a step-by-step qualitative and quantitative methodology resulting in the compilation of a common set of psychosocial difficulties using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework. Results: Sixty-seven persons participated in the study. Most persons with neuropsychiatric disorders experience difficulties in emotional functions, sleeping, carrying out daily routine, working and interpersonal relationships in common. Sixteen out of 33 psychosocial difficulties made up the common set. This set includes mental functions, pain and issues addressing activities and participation and provides first evidence for the hypothesis of horizontal epidemiology of psychosocial difficulties in neuropsychiatric disorders. Conclusions: This study provides information about psychosocial difficulties that should be covered in the treatment and rehabilitation of persons with neuropsychiatric disorders regardless of clinical diagnoses.Implications for RehabilitationEmotional problems, work and sleep problems should be addressed in all the treatments of neuropsychiatric disorders regardless of their specific diagnosis, etiology and severity.Personality issues should be targeted in the treatment for neurological disorders, whereas communication skill training may also be useful for mental disorders.The effects of medication and social environment on patient’s daily life should be considered in all the neuropsychiatric conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 17 2015


  • Disability and Health
  • International Classification of Functioning
  • mental disorder
  • neuropsychiatric disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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