Effects of needs-assessment–based psycho-education of schizophrenic patients’ families on the severity of symptoms and relapse rate of patients

Gholam Reza Kheirabadi, Mahnaz Rafizadeh, Victoria Omranifard, Azam Yari, Mohammad Reza Maracy, Tayebe Mehrabi, Sima Sadri



Background: Family psycho-education is one of the most effective interventions for preventing relapse in patients with schizophrenia. We evaluated the efficacy of a needs-assessment–based educational program in comparison with a current program (textbook based) in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Materials and Methods: Patients with schizophrenia and their families (N = 60) were allocated to needs-assessment–based education (treatment) and textbook-based (control) programs; both included 10 sessions of education within about 6 months. Symptoms were assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) prior to intervention and every 3 months for a total of 18 months. A 25% decrease or increase in total PANSS score was considered as response or relapse, respectively.

Results: Forty-two cases completed the study. The total PANSS score was significantly decreased in both groups with more reduction in the treatment group. Positive and negative scale scores were reduced in the treatment group, but not significantly in the control group. Response rate was higher in the treatment group and relapse rate was lower (15% vs. 27.2%, P = 0.279). In logistic regression analysis, needs-assessment–based psycho-education was associated with more treatment response.

Conclusions: Needs-assessment–based psycho-education is more effective than textbook-based education for treating schizophrenia. We recommend psychiatric care centers to conduct needs-assessment and develop their own program for family psycho-education.

Key words: Family, needs-assessment, psycho-education, schizophrenia

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