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Family intervention for schizophrenia

Pharoah F, Mari JJ, Rathbone J, Wong W
Published Online: 
14 November 2012

People with schizophrenia are more likely to experience a relapse within family groups when there are high levels of expressed emotion (hostility, criticism or over involvement) within the family, compared to families who tend to be less expressive of their emotions. There are several psychosocial interventions available involving education, support and management to reduce expressed emotion within families. In this review we compare the effects of family psychosocial interventions in community settings for the care of people with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses.

Studies were conducted in Europe, Asia and North America with packages of family intervention varying among studies, although there were no clear differences in study design. Results indicated that family intervention may reduce the risk of relapse and improve compliance with medication. However data were often inadequately reported and therefore unusable. As this package of care is widely employed, there should be further research to properly clarify several of the short-term and long-term outcomes.