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Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Jan;59(1):49-56. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.59.1.49.

Improving knowledge about mental illness through family-led education: the journey of hope.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. pickett@psych.uic.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Families often do not receive the information that they need to care for their adult relatives with mental illness. This study examined the effectiveness of a family-led education intervention, the Journey of Hope, in improving participants' knowledge about mental illness and its treatment and decreasing their information needs.

METHODS:

A total of 462 family members of adults with mental illness in Louisiana participated in the study; 231 were randomly assigned to immediate receipt of the Journey of Hope course (intervention group), and 231 were randomly assigned to a nine-month waiting list for the course (control group). Participants completed in-person, structured interviews assessing their knowledge of mental illness and problem-solving skills and their information needs at study enrollment (baseline), three months postbaseline, and eight months postbaseline.

RESULTS:

Random regression analyses indicate that at three and eight months postbaseline, compared with participants assigned to the control group, those in the intervention group reported greater knowledge gains (beta=.84, p< or =.01) and fewer needs for information on coping with positive symptoms (beta=-.63, p< or =.05), coping with negative symptoms (beta=-.80, p< or =.001), problem management (beta=-1.00, p< or =.001), basic facts about mental illness and its treatment (beta=-.73, p< or =.01), and community resources (beta=-.07, p< or =.05). These significant differences in knowledge and information needs were maintained over time and were significant even when controlling for participants' demographic characteristics and their relatives' clinical characteristics.

CONCLUSIONS:

Participation in family-led education interventions, such as the Journey of Hope, may provide families with the information they need to better cope with their relative's mental illness.

PMID:
18182539
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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