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Fam Process. 2003 Spring;42(1):91-103.

Burden in schizophrenia caregivers: impact of family psychoeducation and awareness of patient suicidality.

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  • 1Eastern Branch, The Washington Institute for Mental Illness: Research and Training, Washington State University-Spokane, 310 North Riverpoint Boulevard, P.O. Box 1495, Spokane, Washington 99210, USA.

Erratum in

  • Fam Process. 2004 Summer;42(2):184.


Family caregivers of persons with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders experience high levels of burden. Although a number of patient and caregiver predictors of burden have been identified, little research has investigated the contributions of patient depression, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. In addition, family psychoeducation interventions have reduced patient symptoms, as well as inpatient treatment utilization; however, it is not known whether or not these interventions reduce family burden. This study investigated predictors of family burden and tested to what degree multiple family group treatment (MFGT), relative to a standard care condition, was associated with reduced family burden. Participants were 90 outpatients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, and their caregivers who were enrolled in a 2 year psychoeducation intervention. The best set of predictors of burden, identified by stepwise linear regression, was young patient age, awareness of patient's suicidal ideation, and family resources. These variables accounted for 32% of the total variance in burden. Findings suggest that caregiver's awareness of patient's suicidal ideation, not patient's report of suicidal ideation; and that patient age, not duration of the illness, were significant independent predictors of burden. When compared to a standard-care condition over 2 years, MFGT did not reduce family caregiver burden. Discussions focus on the relationship between burden and its predictors, and possible reasons why MFGT did not decrease burden. Modifications are proposed that may increase the impact of MFGT.

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