Family-based Psychoeducation for Children and Adolescents with Mood Disorders

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Psychoeducation is often used for family members of adult patients with mood disorders. An increase in family's knowledge of the patient's illness course and outcome is thought to improve treatment compliance and may reduce relapse rates through identification of early symptoms and risks. While studies on family-based psychoeducation of adult patients with mood disorders have been reviewed, a similar review has not been conducted in patients who are children and adolescents. We conducted a systematic review of studies published between 1980 and 2006 on independently standing psychoeducation programs for families with children suffering from mood disorders. Results revealed eight treatment and preventive psychoeducation studies for families of affectively ill children or children at risk for depression. Findings indicate that psychoeducation models typically adopt a workshop approach incorporating didactic teachings and interactive discussion sessions, with or without specific skills training. Given the paucity of randomized controlled trials and lack of comparability between psychoeducation models, conclusions about the true efficacy of each program as a treatment or an adjunct to the treatment of mood disorders in children and adolescents cannot be made. Further research into psychoeducation for families of children with mood disorders is warranted.

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