A randomized comparison of group cognitive-behavioural therapy and group psychoeducation in acute patients with schizophrenia: outcome at 24 months


Andreas Bechdolf, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, 50924 Cologne, Germany.
E-mail: andreas.bechdolf@uk-koeln.de


Objective:  We compared the effects of a brief group cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and a group psychoeducational (PE) programme in acute patients with schizophrenia 2 years after treatment. At 6-month follow-up, the CBT group had shown significantly less re-hospitalization rates and on a descriptive level higher compliance with medication.

Method:  Eighty-eight in-patients with acute schizophrenia were randomized to receive a therapy envelope of 8 weeks including either 16 sessions of CBT or eight sessions of PE.

Results:  From the initial sample, 43 patients (48.9%) completed the 24-month follow-up. There were no significant group differences regarding re-admission, symptoms or compliance with medication. However, on a descriptive level patients who received CBT on average experienced 21.8% less re-hospitalizations, 71 days less in hospital and higher compliance ratings at the 24-month follow-up.

Conclusion:  The significant advantages of CBT at short-term follow-up were lost at long-term follow-up. However, on a descriptive level some advantages for CBT remained after 2 years.