Background People with schizophrenia from families that express high levels of criticism, hostility, or over involvement, have more frequent relapses than people with similar problems from families that tend to be less expressive of emotions. Forms of psychosocial intervention, designed to reduce these levels of expressed emotions within families, are now widely used. Objectives To estimate the effects of family psychosocial interventions in community settings for people with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like conditions compared with standard care. Search methods We updated previous searches by searching the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Trials Register (September 2008). Selection criteria We selected randomised or quasi-randomised studies focusing primarily on families of people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder that compared community-orientated family-based psychosocial intervention with standard care. Data collection and analysis We independently extracted data and calculated fixed-effect relative risk (RR), the 95% confidence intervals (CI) for binary data, and, where appropriate, the number needed to treat (NNT) on an intention-to-treat basis. For continuous data, we calculated mean differences (MD). Main results This 2009-10 update adds 21 additional studies, with a total of 53 randomised controlled trials included. Family intervention may decrease the frequency of relapse (n = 2981, 32 RCTs, RR 0.55 CI 0.5 to 0.6, NNT 7 CI 6 to 8), although some small but negative studies might not have been identified by the search. Family intervention may also reduce hospital admission (n = 481, 8 RCTs, RR 0.78 CI 0.6 to 1.0, NNT 8 CI 6 to 13) and encourage compliance with medication (n = 695, 10 RCTs, RR 0.60 CI 0.5 to 0.7, NNT 6 CI 5 to 9) but it does not obviously affect the tendency of individuals/families to leave care (n = 733, 10 RCTs, RR 0.74 CI 0.5 to 1.0). Family intervention also seems to improve general social impairment and the levels of expressed emotion within the family. We did not find data to suggest that family intervention either prevents or promotes suicide.
Pharoah, F., Mari, J. J., Rathbone, J., & Wong, W. (2010). Family intervention for schizophrenia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD000088.pub3