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Empirical evidence of the efficacy and effectiveness of psychosocial family intervention and of the specificity of its effects on the course of schizophrenia is limited. The aim was to study the efficacy and effectiveness of psychosocial family intervention with regard to clinical and social functioning and family burden after controlling for compliance and several prognostic factors.
A 2-year randomized controlled trial with blind assessments. Fifty patients with DSM-IV schizophrenia and persistent positive symptoms and/or previous clinical relapse were allocated to psychosocial family intervention, individual counselling and standard treatment versus individual counselling and standard treatment.
Family intervention was associated with fewer clinical relapses, hospitalizations and major incidents, and an improvement in positive and negative symptoms, social role performance, social relations, employment and family burden. The reduction in hospitalizations in the family intervention group was significantly greater than that observed in the group of patients who refused to participate but this was not the case for the control group. The effects of family intervention were independent of compliance and prognostic factors.
Family intervention is effective in severe schizophrenia independently of compliance and prognostic factors.
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