Changes in relatives' affective attitudes are important contributors to the impact of family psychoeducational programmes on the course of schizophrenia. It remains unclear whether similar changes occur in the interactional style of schizophrenic patients participating in psychoeducational treatment. This study examined changes in the interactional style (coping style) of 33 schizophrenic patients in individual or family treatment. Significant changes were seen in the interactional style of the patients participating in the individual treatment. Similar changes were evident, but not significant, in the family treatment group. The quality of patient interactional style before or after treatment did not predict relapse in either group. Changes in relatives' interactional style early in family treatment are necessary to affect the short-term course of schizophrenia. Modification in patient behaviour during the early phase does not have similar predictive value.