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Compr Psychiatry. 2006 Sep-Oct;47(5):362-7. Epub 2006 Apr 21.

The long-term outcome of 2 family intervention strategies in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia, Spain.


The different family-based interventions that have proven to be effective in treating people with schizophrenia present some therapeutic elements in common and differ in certain other respects, although to date, none of the proposed approaches have demonstrated to be clearly superior to each other in reduced relapse and readmission rates. Although the approaches based on relatives group therapies save considerable amounts of time, some data reveal better short-term results when the intervention focuses on the family unit and the participant patient.


The aim of this study was to determine whether the clinical and social benefits observed in the short term would be maintained 5 years later.


Follow-up study over a 5-year period on 87 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and their families taking part in a cognitive behavioral therapy, assigned at random either to (a) a family unit including the patient or (b) a group of relatives.


The statistical contrast between the 2 survival curves reveals that they are not significant with regard to relapse (log-rank test, 1.30; P < .2538) nor readmissions (long rank test, 0.03; P = .8547). Results after analyzing other variables were also similar in both groups, with slight differences for the strategy where the patient was not present.


Both types of interventions have similar long-term impact with a clear tendency to loose benefits acquired during the intervention. This finding suggests that it might be possible for some subgroups of patients to conduct a 12-month therapy followed by a support group, hoping that long-term benefits would be maintained.

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