Effectiveness of self-management training in community residents with chronic schizophrenia: a single-blind randomized controlled trial in Shanghai, China

Bin Zhou, Pu Zhang, Yiwei Gu
Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry 2014, 26 (2): 81-7

AIM: Evaluate the effectiveness of self-management training in community-dwelling adults with schizophrenia.

METHODS: A total of 201 individuals with chronic schizophrenia (mean duration of illness of 17.4 years) were recruited and randomized into the self-management intervention group (n=103) and treatment-as-usual control group (n=98). The self-management training involved weekly group sessions for 6 months in which basic self-management skills were discussed and modelled followed by monthly group booster sessions for 24 months in which a community health worker reviewed patients' self-management checklist journals. Two psychiatrists who were blind to group assignment evaluated the symptoms and social functioning of participants at baseline and 6 months and 30 months after enrollment using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Social Disability Screening Schedule (SDSS), and Morningside Rehabilitation Status Scale (MRSS). A total of 194 individuals (99 from the intervention group and 95 from the control group) completed the 2.5-year follow-up. Intention-to-treat analysis with the last observation carried forward method was used for analysis.

RESULTS: Compared to the control group, the intervention group had lower mean scores in the BPRS, SDSS and MRSS at both follow-up points. The scores in the intervention group continued to improve during the maintenance phase of the treatment from 6 months to 30 months after enrollment.

CONCLUSION: Self-management training is an effective method to improve symptoms and social functioning among individuals with chronic schizophrenia living in the community. After six months of weekly training in self-management skills, monthly booster sessions reviewing patients' daily checklist of illness-related symptoms events are sufficient to maintain the beneficial effects of the training. Further study of the long-term cost-effectiveness of this method is needed.

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