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Eur Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;24(5):307-16. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2009.01.003. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Increasing self-esteem: efficacy of a group intervention for individuals with severe mental disorders.

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University Hospitals of Geneva, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Adult Psychiatry, Secteur 1 Eaux-Vives, Rue du XXXI D├ęcembre 36, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland.



Individuals with psychosis are known to have a lower self-esteem compared to the general population, in part because of social stigma, paternalistic care, long periods of institutionalization and negative family interactions. This study aimed at assessing the efficacy of a self-esteem enhancement program for individuals with severe mental illness and at analyzing the results in their European context.


A randomized cross-over study including 54 outpatients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia from Geneva, Switzerland, was conducted. Twenty-four were recruited from an outpatient facility receiving traditional psychiatric care whereas 30 came from an outpatient facility with case-management care. Psychosocial, diagnostic and symptom measures were taken for all the subjects before treatment, after treatment, and at 3-months' follow-up.


Results indicated significant positive self-esteem module effects on self-esteem, self-assertion, active coping strategies and symptom for the participants receiving case-management care. Results were not significant for those receiving traditional care. However, 71% of all participants expressed satisfaction with the module.


Individuals with schizophrenia appear to be benefit from the effects of the self-esteem module, particularly when they are involved in a rehabilitation program and followed by a case manager who liaises with the other partners of the multidisciplinary team. This encourages reconsidering the interventions' format and setting in order to ensure lasting effects on the environment and in turn on coping, self-esteem and overall empowerment.

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