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Am J Psychiatry. 1992 Nov;149(11):1549-55.

Technique for training schizophrenic patients in illness self-management: a controlled trial.

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  • 1Clinical Research Center for Schizophrenia and Psychiatric Rehabilitation, University of California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles.



To determine whether schizophrenic outpatients receiving low-dose neuroleptic therapy could learn and retain complex information and skills related to self-management of their illness, a novel technique of teaching, using cognitive and behavioral methods, was designed to compensate for the patients' learning disabilities.


The subjects were 41 patients with DSM-III-R schizophrenia who were receiving constant maintenance neuroleptic drug therapy. They were randomly assigned to structured, modularized skills training or to supportive group psychotherapy.


The patients who received skills training made significant gains in each of the areas taught, while those participating in group therapy did not. The skills learned during training were retained without significant erosion over a 1-year follow-up period.


The effectiveness of modularized teaching of illness self-management skills to schizophrenic patients appears to be largely independent of baseline psychology and symptom improvement. Such an approach is useful for overcoming or compensating for the enduring cognitive and information processing deficits commonly found in schizophrenia.

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