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Effectiveness of enhancing contact model on reducing family caregiving burden and improving psychological wellbeing among caregivers of persons with schizophrenia in rural China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2022

Yi-Zhou Wang
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Xue Weng
Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai, China
Tian-Ming Zhang
Department of Social Work, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China
Ming Li
Chengdu Xinjin Second People's Hospital, Chengdu, China
Wei Luo
Chengdu Xinjin Second People's Hospital, Chengdu, China
Yin-Ling Irene Wong
School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Lawrence H. Yang
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New York University, USA Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, NY, USA
Graham Thornicroft
Centre for Global Mental Health and Centre for Implementation Science, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, UK
Lin Lu
Peking University Sixth Hospital, Peking University Institute of Mental Health, Beijing, China
Mao-Sheng Ran*
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Mental Health Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Author for correspondence: Mao-Sheng Ran, E-mail:



It is unclear whether the enhancing contact model (ECM) intervention is effective in reducing family caregiving burden and improving hope and quality of life (QOL) among family caregivers of persons with schizophrenia (FCPWS).


We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial in FCPWS in eight rural townships in Xinjin, Chengdu, China. In total, 253 FCPWS were randomly allocated to the ECM, psychoeducational family intervention (PFI), or treatment as usual (TAU) group. FCPWS in three groups were assessed caregiving burden, QOL and state of hope at baseline (T0), post-intervention (T1), 3-month (T2), and 9-month (T3) follow-up, respectively.


Compared with participants in the TAU group, participants in the ECM group had statistically significantly lower caregiving burden scores both at T1 and T2 (p = 0.0059 and 0.0257, respectively). Compared with participants in the TAU group, participants in the PFI group had statistically significantly higher QOL scores in T1 (p = 0.0406), while participants in the ECM group had statistically significantly higher QOL scores in T3 (p = 0.0240). Participants in both ECM and PFI groups had statistically significantly higher hope scores than those in the TAU group at T1 (p = 0.0160 and 0.0486, respectively).


This is the first study to explore the effectiveness of ECM on reducing family caregiving burden and improving hope and QOL in rural China. The results indicate the ECM intervention, a comprehensive and multifaceted intervention, is more effective than the PFI in various aspects of mental wellbeing among FCPWS. Future research needs to confirm ECM's effectiveness in various population.

Original Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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