To explore the effectiveness of a psycho-educational family intervention program for reducing burden in caregivers of patients with schizophrenia in a developing country.
Forty-five caregivers participated, 22 in a psycho-educational family intervention group and 23 in a control group. The family program was held once a week for 5 months. In the control group the caregivers received standard intervention, comprising periodical meetings with the staff to monitor the effects of the medication. Burden was measured before and after the intervention: relatives in the psycho-educational group were evaluated at inclusion and at the end of the program; controls were evaluated at inclusion and 5 months later.
Burden decreased significantly in the psycho-educational group; mean scores on the Zarit Caregiver Burden Scale fell from 85.06 pre-intervention to 52.44 post-intervention, while scores fell only slightly in the control group, from 87.65 to 87.22. Treatment was especially effective in mothers and caregivers with lower educational levels.
This intervention program for reducing caregiver burden in developing Latin American countries was effective. Future investigations should focus on obtaining more precise estimates of the contributions of specific components of these programs to reducing burden.