Outcomes of the peer-taught 12-week family-to-family education program for severe mental illness

L Dixon, A Lucksted, B Stewart, J Burland, C H Brown, L Postrado, C McGuire, M Hoffman
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2004, 109 (3): 207-15

OBJECTIVE: Family-to-Family Education Program (FFEP) is a 12-week course for family members of adults with serious mental illness (SMI). This study evaluates the effectiveness of FFEP for several family member outcomes.

METHOD: The FFEP enrollees on a > or =3-month waiting list were eligible; 95 consenting family members agreed to four interviews (waitlist, pre-FFEP, post-FFEP, and 6 months post-FFEP) regarding subjective and objective burden, empowerment, and depression. Mixed effects ANOVA models tested hypotheses of decreased burden and increased empowerment after FFEP.

RESULTS: The FFEP was associated with reduced subjective burden (P < 0.01) and increased empowerment (P < 0.01) without changes in objective burden. Knowledge about SMI, understanding the mental health system, and self-care also improved. There was no significant decay at 6-month followup.

CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence that FFEP is helpful to relatives of persons with SMI by reducing subjective burden and worry, and increasing empowerment, knowledge about SMI, understanding the mental health system, and self-care.

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