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Research update on the psychosocial treatment of schizophrenia
Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:607-617.
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OBJECTIVE: This review is an update on the research evidence supporting psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia. It extends previous review articles by summarizing the literature on social skills training, family interventions, cognitive rehabilitation, and coping with residual positive symptoms. METHOD: The authors reviewed controlled treatment outcome studies of social skills training and family interventions. Different models of family therapy were contrasted. The current literature on cognitive rehabilitation and coping with residual positive symptoms was also examined. RESULTS: Social skills training produces improvement on specific behavioral measures, although changes in symptoms and community functioning are less pronounced. Family interventions (i.e., family psychoeducation and behavioral family therapy) are highly effective for reducing families' expressed emotion and improving patients' relapse rates and outcomes. Furthermore, family interventions are also associated with reduced family burden. Cognitive rehabilitation and training in coping with positive symptoms appear to be promising interventions, but more controlled, group trials are needed before definite conclusions can be drawn. CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of a variety of different family intervention models, as well as social skills training, is supported by a large body of research. Future work needs to address improving delivery of existing psychosocial interventions, integrating these interventions with other psychosocial approaches (e.g., vocational rehabilitation and case management), identifying which patients will benefit from which treatments, isolating the "active" ingredients of family interventions (i.e., psychoeducation versus behavioral intervention), and identifying the amount of treatment (e.g., number of sessions) needed before treatment response is expected.

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