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Keywords:

  • group assertiveness training;
  • interpersonal communication;
  • nursing;
  • schizophrenia;
  • social anxiety

Abstract

Aims

In this study, we investigated the effects of group assertiveness training on assertiveness, social anxiety and satisfaction with interpersonal communication among patients with chronic schizophrenia.

Background

Only limited studies highlighted the effectiveness of group assertiveness training among inpatients with schizophrenia. Given the lack of group assertiveness training among patients with schizophrenia, further development of programmes focusing on facilitating assertiveness, self-confidence and social skills among inpatients with chronic schizophrenia is needed.

Design

This study used a prospective, randomized, single-blinded, parallel-group design.

Methods

This study employed a prospective, randomized, parallel-group design. Seventy-four patients were randomly assigned to experimental group receiving 12 sessions of assertiveness training, or a supportive control group. Data collection took place for the period of June 2009–July 2010.

Results

Among patients with chronic schizophrenia, assertiveness, levels of social anxiety and satisfaction with interpersonal communication significantly improved immediately after the intervention and at the 3-month follow-up in the intervention group. The results of a generalized estimating equation (GEE) indicated that: (1) assertiveness significantly improved from pre- to postintervention and was maintained until the follow-up; (2) anxiety regarding social interactions significantly decreased after assertiveness training; and (3) satisfaction with interpersonal communication slightly improved after the 12-session intervention and at the 3-month follow-up.

Conclusion

Assertivenss training is a non-invasive and inexpensive therapy that appears to improve assertiveness, social anxiety and interpersonal communication among inpatients with chronic schizophrenia. These findings may provide a reference guide to clinical nurses for developing assertiveness-training protocols.