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Title: The effectiveness and active ingredients of mutual support groups for family caregivers of people with psychotic disorders : a literature review
Authors: Chien, WT 
Norman, I
Keywords: Mutual support group
Family caregivers
Psychotic disorders
Issue Date: Dec-2009
Publisher: Elsevier
Source: International journal of nursing studies, Dec. 2009, v. 46, no. 12, p. 1604-1623 How to cite?
Journal: International journal of nursing studies 
Abstract: Objectives: To explore the literature through a systematic search to assess the effectiveness of mutual support groups for family caregivers of people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
Methods: This review of the research literature was based on the procedures suggested by the National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (2001) Report Number 4 in theUK [National Health Service Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, 2001. Undertaking Systematic Reviews of Research on Effectiveness: CRD s Guidance for those Carrying out or Commissioning Reviews (CRD Report Number 4). 2nd ed., University of York, York, UK]. A combined free-text and thesaurus approach was used to search relevant research studies within electronic databases, including Medline, Embase, CINAHL, OVID full-text, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, the British Nursing Index, the NHS National Research register, and System for Info on Grey literature for the period 1980 2007. Reference lists of all retrieved literature were also searched to identify studies that may have been missed. Twenty-five research studies were selected for inclusion in the analysis on the basis that they were either family led or professional-facilitated support group programmes for family caregivers of people with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders.
Results: The review identified that most studies on this group programme used qualitative, exploratory cross-sectional surveys and quasi-experimental study designs (n = 19); six were experimental studies or randomised controlled trials. There were only a few small-scale, single-centre controlled trials with the findings supporting the significant positive effects of mutual support groups on families¡¦ and patients¡¦ psychosocial wellbeing. A number of non-experimental studies conducted in Western countries reported benefits of group participation up to 1 year, such as increased knowledge about the illness, reduced burden and distress, and enhanced coping ability and social support. However, many of these studies lacked rigorous control and did not use standardised and valid instruments as outcome measures or schedule follow-up to examine the long-term effects of support groups on families and/or patients.
Conclusions: With increasing recognition of benefits from mutual support, thi
ISSN: 0020-7489
EISSN: 1873-491X
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.04.003
Rights: International Journal of Nursing Studies ? 2009 Elsevier. The journal web site is located at
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