The effectiveness of manual-guided, problem-solving-based self-learning programme for family caregivers of people with recent-onset psychosis: A randomised controlled trial with 6-month follow-up

Wai Tong Chien, Annie L.K. Yip, Yat Wa Justina Liu, Terry W. McMaster

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Family intervention for psychotic disorders is an integral part of psychiatric treatment with positive effects on patients' mental state and relapse rate. However, the effect of such family-based intervention on caregivers' psychological distress and well-being, especially in non-Western countries, has received comparatively much less attention. Objectives: To test the effects of guided problem-solving-based manual-guided self-learning programme for family caregivers of adults with recent-onset psychosis over a 6-month period of follow-up, when compared with those in usual family support service. Design: A single-centre randomised controlled trial, which was registered at (NCT02391649), with a repeated-measures, two-arm (parallel-group) design. Settings: One main psychiatric outpatient clinic in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Participants: A random sample of 116 family caregiverss of adult outpatients with recent-onset psychosis. Methods: Following pre-test measurement, caregivers were assigned randomly to one of two study groups: a 5-month self-help, problem-solving-based manual-guided self-learning (or bibliotherapy) programme (in addition to usual care), or usual family support service only. Varieties of patient and caregiver health outcomes were assessed and compared at baseline and at 1-week and 6-month post-intervention. Results: One hundred and eleven (96%) caregivers completed the 6-month follow-up (two post-tests); 55 of them (95%) completed ≥4 modules and attended ≥2 review sessions (i.e., 75% of the intervention). The family participants' mean age was about 38 years and over 64% of them were female and patient's parent or spouse. Multivariate analyses of variance indicated that the manual-guided self-learning group reported significantly greater improvements than the usual care group in family burden [F(1,110) = 6.21, p = 0.006] and caregiving experience [F(1,110) = 6.88, p = 0.0004], and patients' psychotic symptoms [F(1,110) = 6.25, p = 0.0003], functioning [F(1,110) = 7.01, p = 0.0005] and number of hospitalisations [F(1,110) = 5.71, p = 0.005] over 6-month follow-up. Conclusions: Problem-solving-based, manual-guided self-learning programme for family caregivers of adults with recent-onset psychosis can be an effective self-help programme and provide medium-term benefits to patients' and caregivers' mental health and duration of patients' re-hospitalisations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Bibliotherapy
  • Family intervention
  • Problem-solving
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Recent-onset psychosis
  • Self-learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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