BACKGROUND This study assessed the long-term effects of family intervention on schizophrenic relapse.
METHOD Forty schizophrenic patients who had participated in a family intervention trial and who had not experienced relapse at two years after discharge from the index admission were traced through case notes and hospital records. The percentage of patients experiencing a relapse was estimated for patients in the family intervention group, the high-EE control group, and the low-EE control group, at five years and eight years after discharge.
RESULTS There were significantly fewer relapses in the family intervention group than in the high-EE control group at both five years and eight years. The number of relapses in the low-EE control group was lower than in the high-EE control group, but this just failed to reach significance.
CONCLUSIONS The benefit of family intervention and the predictive power of EE are sustained over eight years.