The International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation


 A Comparison of Two Levels of Family-Aided Assertive Community Treatment

William R. McFarlane, M.D.
Robert A. Dushay, Ph.D.
Peter Stastny, M.D.
Susan M. Deakins, M.D.
Bruce Link, Ph.D.

 Objective: The study examined differences in outcomes for patients with schizophrenic disorders who were receiving assertive community treatment based on whether their families were involved in their treatment more intensively in psychoeducational multifamily groups or episodically in crisis family intervention.

Methods: Sixty-eight individuals who met DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenic disorders and who had at least one other major complicating factor were randomly assigned to the two treatment conditions, and clinical and functional outcomes over a 24-month follow-up period were compared.

Results: Both groups had significant reductions in rehospitalization rates and symptom levels and increased participation in treatment. Patients in multifamily group treatment had higher employment rates during the study. Otherwise, few significant differences in the major outcome variables were found. In both treatment conditions family members reported significant improvements in their objective and subjective burden; in friction, dissatisfaction, and overinvolvement with the patient; and in the patientís functioning.

Conclusions: The results suggest that systematic family involvement enhances the rehabilitation and family-related outcomes of assertive community treatment. Patients in multifamily group treatment had better employment outcomes.

(Psychiatric Services 47:744-750, 1996)

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