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Randomised controlled effectiveness trial of a needs-based psychosocial intervention service for carers of people with schizophrenia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2018

Christine Barrowclough*
Academic Depariment of Clinical Psychology
Nicholas Tarrier
Academic Depariment of Clinical Psychology
Shôn Lewis
University Department of Psychiatry, School of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University of Manchester
William Sellwood
Department of Clinical Psychology, Withington Hospital, Manchester
John Mainwaring
Making Space, Warrington
Joanne Quinn
Department of Clinical Psychology, Withington Hospital, Manchester
Charlotte Hamlin
Department of Clinical Psychology, Withington Hospital, Manchester
Christine Barrowclough, Academic Department of Clinical Psychology. Mental Health Unit. Tameside General Hospital, Ashton - under-Lyne, Lancashire OL6 9RW



Family interventions are effective in reducing relapse in patients with schizophrenia, but there is little work demonstrating the effectiveness of the interventions in routine service settings.


To test the effectiveness of a needs-based family intervention service for patients recruited as out-patients and their carers, including those of low expressed emotion status.


Carers of out-patient schizophrenia sufferers selected only on illness history factors were randomly allocated to receive either family support alone or in combination with systematic psychosocial interventions based on an assessment of need. Delivery of family interventions attempted to involve the clinical team.


Relapse outcomes were superior for family-treated patients at six-month follow-up, although most of the clinical and symptom patient variables assessed remained stable, as did measures of carer burden.


The study demonstrated the effectiveness of family interventions in routine service settings. Problems with staff, patient and carer engagement and participation were identified.

Copyright © 1999 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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Declaration of interest

The study was funded by the National Health Service Executive North West.


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