The British Journal of Psychiatry


BACKGROUND Persistent drug-resistant psychotic symptoms are a pervasive problem in the treatment of schizophrenia.

AIMS To evaluate the durability of the treatment effects of cognitive-behavioural therapy for chronic schizophrenia one year after treatment termination.

METHOD A comparison of clinical outcomes was made at one-year follow-up from a randomised trial of cognitive-behavioural therapy, supportive counselling and routine care alone in the treatment of chronic schizophrenia.

RESULTS Seventy out of the 72 patients (97%) who completed treatment were assessed at follow-up. There were significant differences between the three groups when positive and negative symptoms were analysed by means of ANCOVAs. Between-group comparisons indicated significant differences between cognitive-behavioural therapy and routine care at follow-up for positive symptoms. There was a trend towards significance for both cognitive-behavioural therapy and supportive counselling to be superior to routine care alone on negative symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS At 12-month follow-up the significant advantage of cognitive-behavioural therapy compared to routine care alone remained.