A randomised controlled trial of a caregiver-facilitated problem-solving based self-learning program for family carers of people with early psychosis

Wai Tong Chien, Daniel Bressington, Dan I. Lubman, Thanos Karatzias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Facilitated self-help and problem-solving strategies can empower and support family carers to cope with caregiving for people with severe mental illnesses. This single-blind multi-site randomised controlled trial examined the effects of a five-month family-facilitated problem-solving based self-learning program (PBSP in addition to usual care), versus a family psychoeducation group program and usual psychiatric care only in recent-onset psychosis, with a six-month follow-up. In each of three study sites (integrated community centres for mental wellness), 114 people with early psychosis (≤5 years illness onset) and their family carers were randomly selected and allocated to one of three study groups (n = 38). Caregiving burden (primary outcome) and patients’ and carers’ health conditions were assessed at recruitment, and one-month and six-months post-intervention. Overall, 106 (94.7%) participants completed the assigned intervention and ≥1 post-test. Generalised estimating equations and subsequent contrast tests indicated that the PBSP participants showed significantly greater improvements in carers’ burden, caregiving experiences and problem-solving ability, and patients’ psychotic symptoms, recovery, and duration of re-hospitalisations over the six-month follow-up, compared with the other two groups (moderate to large effect size, η2 = 0.12–0.24). Family-assisted problem-solving based self-learning programs were found to be effective to improve both psychotic patients’ and their carers’ psychosocial health over a medium term, thus reducing patients’ risk of relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9343
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2020


  • Problem solving
  • Psychoeducation
  • Psychosis
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Self-learning

Cite this