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Schizophr Bull. 2001;27(4):661-70.

Two strategies for family intervention in schizophrenia: a randomized trial in a Mediterranean environment.

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Department of Psychiatry, Valencia University School of Medicine, Spain.


Controlled intervention studies carried out in families of schizophrenia patients have been shown to have a positive impact in relapse prevention, but it remains to be seen whether different forms of family intervention affect outcomes other than relapse and hospital readmission in different ways. This study compared the outcome profile of relevant clinical variables after two different family intervention strategies for schizophrenia patients in public health care in a Spanish sample. We conducted a randomized controlled study comparing (1) a relatives group (RG) and (2) a single-family behavioral family therapy (BFT), both offered as standard treatment in one catchment area in Valencia. All randomized patients were included in the main analysis, and all cases remained in the therapy group to which they were originally assigned regardless of whether they suffered a relapse. The relapse rate at 12 months for the 87 cases studied was not significantly different in the two groups, but the two approaches did affect outcomes other than relapse and rehospitalization (such as social functioning, dose of antipsychotic medication, "delusions" and "thought disorder") in different ways. The BFT approach offered more advantages than the RG approach. The results suggest that these approaches should always be implemented in a clinical environment in a Mediterranean setting.

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