Background: Although interpersonal interactions are thought to affect psychopathology in schizophrenia, there is a paucity of data about how older adults with schizophrenia manage interpersonal conflicts. This paper examines interpersonal conflict strategies and their impact on positive symptom remission in older adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Methods: The schizophrenia group consisted of 198 persons aged 55 years and over living in the community who developed schizophrenia before age 45. A community comparison group (n = 113) was recruited using randomly selected block-groups. Straus’ Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) was used to assess the ways that respondents handled interpersonal conflicts.
Results: Seven conflict management subscales were created based on a principal component analysis with equamax rotation of items from the CTS. The order of the frequency of the tactics that was used was similar for both the schizophrenia and community groups. Calm and Pray tactics were the most commonly used, and the Violent and Aggressive tactics were rarely utilized. In two separate logistic regression analysis, after controlling for confounding variables, positive symptom remission was found to be associated significantly with both the Calm and Pray subscales.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that older persons with schizophrenia approximate normal distribution patterns of conflict management strategies and the most commonly used strategies are associated with positive symptom remission.