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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.
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