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Keywords:

  • expressed emotion;
  • family burden and distress;
  • family intervention;
  • schizophrenia;
  • State-Trait Anxiety Inventory

Abstract  This study examined the direct effects of short-term psychoeducation on relatives of inpatients with schizophrenia, with the goal of introducing this type of support program into standard care. The subjects were 46 relatives of inpatients with schizophrenia who attended three or four sessions of psychoeducation. Levels of anxiety and subjective burden and distress were measured before and after sessions using self-administered rating scales. In addition, levels of expressed emotion were also measured. Results showed that both state and trait anxiety on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were significantly lower after psychoeducational intervention than before intervention. In addition, subjective burden and distress reported by the family significantly decreased on the subscales for family confusion resulting from a lack of knowledge of the illness and anxiety about the future, subjective burden and depression resulting from the patient’s illness, and difficulties in the relatives’ relationships with the patient. Comparison of high and low expressed emotion families showed that the intervention was almost equally effective for the two groups. However, its effectiveness with regard to the subjective burden and depression experienced by the families was significantly greater among high expressed emotion families. The present study confirmed that family psychoeducation during hospitalization, even for a short period, is effective for all families, whether high or low expressed emotion. Moreover, the results suggested that the intervention may have a greater effect on emotional factors in high expressed emotion families than in low expressed emotion families.