• schizophrenia;
  • aging;
  • psychopathology;
  • cognition disorders;
  • residence characteristics;
  • quality of life

Objective: Differences in residential status may contribute to the diversity of findings observed in community-based samples of patients with schizophrenia. We compared older out-patients living independently with those in assisted-care facilities.

Method: Two hundred and fifty-one out-patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, aged 40–97 years, who had been referred to our Intervention Research Center were examined.

Results: Assisted living status was associated with an earlier age at onset of illness, longer illness duration, lower probability of having ever been married, more severe negative symptoms, worse cognitive impairment, and a poorer health-related quality of wellbeing. Independent living and assisted-care patients had similar levels of positive and depressive symptoms, and were on comparable doses of neuroleptic medication. Significant ‘predictors’ of residential status were marital status, cognitive impairment and quality of wellbeing.

Conclusion: Among schizophrenia out-patients, one needs to consider residential status in evaluating heterogeneity in cognitive performance or quality of wellbeing.