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Specific and Non-specific Effects of Educational Intervention for Families Living with Schizophrenia: A Comparison of Three Methods

  • Max Birchwood (a1), Jo Smith (a2) and Ray Cochrane (a3)


Three methods of delivering an educational intervention to families living with a schizophrenic relative were compared in terms of their efficacy in improving understanding and promoting family and patient well-being. Relatives receiving education in a group acquired more information than relatives receiving information by post or on video, but these differences were not maintained at six-month follow-up. The inclusion of homework assignments did not significantly affect gains in knowledge or any of the non-specific effects observed. The intervention overall led to considerable gains in knowledge, increased optimism concerning the family's role in treatment, and reductions in relatives' stress, which were maintained at follow-up. Fear was reduced in the short-term. Significant improvements in social function were observed at follow-up. The results suggest that the delivery of information, rather than the mode of delivery, is the crucial element in the intervention; however, the additional contextual factors operating in a group may be important if the full potential of education is to be realised.


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Specific and Non-specific Effects of Educational Intervention for Families Living with Schizophrenia: A Comparison of Three Methods

  • Max Birchwood (a1), Jo Smith (a2) and Ray Cochrane (a3)
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