Pitschel-Walz, G; Bäuml, J; Bender, W; Engel, RR; Wagner, M; Kissling, W
Psychoeducation and compliance in the treatment of schizophrenia: results of the Munich Psychosis Information Project Study.
OBJECTIVE: The present study examined whether psychoeducational groups for patients with schizophrenic disorders and for their families can reduce rehospitalization rates and improve compliance. METHOD: 236 inpatients who met DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and who had regular contact with at least 1 relative or other key person were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment conditions. In the intervention condition, patients and their relatives were encouraged to attend psychoeducational groups over a period of 4 to 5 months. The patients' and relatives' psychoeducational programs were separate, and each consisted of 8 sessions. Patients in the other treatment condition received routine care. Outcomes were compared over 12-month and 24-month follow-up periods. The study was conducted from 1990 to 1994. RESULTS: It was possible to significantly reduce the rehospitalization rate after 12 and 24 months in patients who attended psychoeducational groups compared with those receiving routine care (p< .05). Patients who attended psychoeducational groups showed better compliance than patients under routine care without psycho-education. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that a relatively brief intervention of 8 psychoeducational sessions with systematic family involvement in simultaneous groups can considerably improve the treatment of schizophrenia. Psychoeducation should be routinely offered to all patients with schizophrenia and their families.