How does family intervention improve the outcome of people with schizophrenia?



Manuel Girón, Francisco Nova-Fernández, Sonia Mañá-Alvarenga, Andreu Nolasco, Antonia Molina-Habas, Antonio Fernández-Yañez, Rafael Tabarés-Seisdedos, Manuel Gómez-Beneyto

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

August 2014





There is strong evidence of the efficacy of family psychosocial interventions for schizophrenia, but evidence of the role played by the attitudes of relatives in the therapeutic process is lacking.


To study the effect of a family intervention on family attitudes and to analyse their mediating role in the therapeutic process 50 patients with schizophrenia and their key relatives undergoing a trial on the efficacy of a family psychosocial intervention were studied by means of the Affective Style Coding System, the Scale of Empathy, and the Relational Control Coding System. Specific statistical methods were used to determine the nature of the relationship of the relatives’ attitudes to the outcome of family intervention.


Family psychosocial intervention was associated with a reduction in relatives’ guilt induction and dominance and an improvement in empathy. Empathy and lack of dominance were identified as independent mediators of the effect of family psychosocial intervention. The change in empathy and dominance during the first 9 months of the intervention predicted the outcome in the following 15 months.


Relatives’ empathy and lack of dominance are mediators of the beneficial effect of family psychosocial intervention on patient’s outcome.








Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee