Aim – To test the efficacy of a Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT) in a routine setting, both short and long term, of a community mental health service (CMHS). Methods – In a randomised clinical trial 24 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, as confirmed by PSE-IX, were assigned to the BFT according to Falloon (n = 12) or to individual usual treatment (n = 12). They were assessed before and at the end of the active treatment (after one year), and after an 11-years follow-up with compared on basic indicators (hospitalisations, length of stay, drop-out rate) and standardised instruments of psychopathological symptoms, social functioning, family burden. Results – At one-year follow-up clinical important and statistically significant differences were observed for psychotic positive symptoms (p<0.01), self-care (p<0.01), autonomy in daily life (p<0.001), subjective/objective family burden (p<0.001). Other psychosocial variables showed positive outcomes non reaching statistical significance. At the 11-year follow-up, marked differences were observed only in hospitalisations and drop-outs. Conclusions – The BFT was rather easy to implement in a CMHS and very cost effective. However, as it has been shown in other studies, to keep all the benefits a consistent program of monitoring with booster sessions is essential.
Declaration of Interest: in the last 2 years, none of the authors has had any interest or he/she has received any form of support, including that from drug companies and “honoraria” for lectures and consultancies, potentially in conflict with this scientific work.