Category: Schizophrenia / Psychotic Disorders

Symposium

The Impact of a Culturally Informed Family Therapy on Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia: Role of Family Cohesion

Friday, November 17
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom O & P, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Schizophrenia | Psychotherapy Outcome | Families
Presentation Type: Symposium

Negative symptoms, such as affective flattening, anhedonia, and alogia, play a significant role in the functional impairment associated with schizophrenia and often persist even when positive symptoms are managed. In spite of recent research indicating the malleability of negative symptoms, the impact of cognitive-behavioral and other treatments on negative symptoms remains understudied. The present study aimed to assess the impact of a culturally informed family therapy for schizophrenia (CIT-S) on negative symptoms over time. Because CIT-S promoted family cohesion as a means of reducing maladaptive communication, expressed emotion, and blaming attributions, the impact of patient and family member perceptions of family cohesion on patient outcomes was also assessed. A sample of 266 patients and family members, nested within 111 families, were assessed at treatment baseline, midpoint, and termination, as well as at 6 months and 12 months after termination. Hierarchical linear modeling was employed to test whether CIT-S would reduce negative symptoms on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) above and beyond treatment as usual (family psychoeducation; PSY-ED). There was a significant time by treatment interaction, B = -.957, p < .001, such that families in the CIT-S condition displayed greater reductions in patient negative symptoms over time (Figure 1). In addition, there was a significant three-way interaction, such that the treatment effect of CIT-S on negative symptoms over time was greatest when families reported high cohesion (B = -.542, p < .05). Generally, there was a main effect of reported family cohesion on negative symptoms, such that when families reported greater cohesion, patients exhibited lower levels of negative symptoms, regardless of treatment group (B = -1.389, p < .0001). The results of the present study suggest that CIT-S outperformed PSY-ED in reducing negative symptoms over time, and that patient and family member perceptions of family cohesion may be one aspect of treatment that significantly improves patient outcomes.




 

Caitlin A. Brown

Ph.D. Candidate
University of Miami

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