Family intervention

What is family intervention?

Family intervention includes family members in therapeutic sessions with the goal of improving all family members’ mental health and understanding of the disorder. This type of intervention aims to enhance the capacity of both patients and their families for problem solving and illness management. Family interventions have a focus on providing information about the disorder, and emphasizing instructions for medication and treatment adherence. Therapeutic sessions can also involve cognitive behavioural interventions to improve problem solving and communication skills and to reduce high familial expressed emotion.

What is the evidence for family intervention?

High quality evidence finds family intervention reduced patient relapse rates when compared to standard care. Longer treatment duration showed the greatest effect, and benefit was seen regardless of intervention type and criteria for relapse. Moderate quality evidence suggests family intervention also has small to medium-sized benefits over standard care for improving patient functioning, quality of life, compliance with medication, hospitalisation rates, family burden, family knowledge, coping and understanding, and familial high expressed emotion.

Compared to other psychosocial therapies, moderate quality evidence finds family intervention reduced relapse and readmission rates, but had no effect on expressed emotion or medication adherence.

Low quality evidence is unclear as to any benefit of integrated family therapy for reducing substance use, or for improving mental state or global function in people with schizophrenia and a substance use disorder.

September 2020

Last updated at: 3:34 am, 11th September 2020
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.