Effectiveness of Psychoeducation and Mutual Support Group Program for Family Caregivers of Chinese People with Schizophrenia

Wai Tong Chien*
The Nethersole School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, P.R. China

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© Wai Tong Chien; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/), which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Nethersole School of Nursing, 7/F., Esther Lee Building, Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong SAR, P.R. China; Tel: (852) 26098099; Fax: (852) 26035269; E-mail: wtchien@cuhk.edu.hk


Schizophrenia is a disruptive and distressing illness, not only for the person affected but also for family members. Family intervention, particularly in a group format using a diverse range of modalities, is thought to effectively satisfy the informational needs of families and enhance their coping abilities when caring for a relative with schizophrenia, and thus reduce a patient’s relapse from illness. This study tested the hypothesis that participants in a family psychoeducation and mutual support group would demonstrate significant improvements in levels of patient and family functioning and shorter duration of re-hospitalization than families in routine care. A randomized controlled trial was conducted with a sample of 68 Chinese families of schizophrenia sufferers in Hong Kong, who were randomly assigned to either a family psychoeducation and support group (n = 34), or a routine care group (n = 34). The interventions were delivered at two psychiatric outpatient clinics over a nine-month period. Results of multivariate analyses of variance test indicated that the psychoeducation and support group reported greater improvements on family and patient functioning and shorter lengths of patient hospitalizations at the two post-tests (one month and one year after completion of the intervention), compared with the routine care group. The findings substantiate that within a Chinese context, psychoeducation and mutual support group intervention can effectively help families care for a mentally ill relative

Keywords: Psychoeducation, mutual support, group intervention, family caregivers, schizophrenia, Chinese.