The Feasibility of a Culturally Informed Group Therapy for Patients With Schizophrenia and Their Family Members

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Research suggests that group-based psychosocial treatments for schizophrenia provide benefits to patients and family members alike. However, few existing treatments consider cultural factors that may enhance their efficacy with diverse populations. The current study examined the feasibility of a culturally informed group therapy for schizophrenia (CIGT-S), which incorporates collectivistic principles and spiritual coping into the treatment protocol. The feasibility of the group protocol was tested by examining differences in patient symptom severity and patient and family member depression, anxiety, and stress after completion of the group program. Within-groups analyses were conducted comparing baseline data to group termination data from 12 patients and 11 family members. Additionally, between-groups analyses were conducted comparing waitlist termination data from 20 patients and 13 family members to group termination data from 12 patients and 11 family members. Finally, we examined participant satisfaction with the group protocol, including qualitative reports on components of the protocol that participants deemed most valuable. Results indicated that patients demonstrated lower levels of symptom severity upon completion of the CIGT-S program; however, no other significant effects were found. Results examining overall patient and family member satisfaction with the treatment protocol indicated that patients and family members both reported being highly satisfied by the treatment program. This was also represented in participant’s open-ended responses to our satisfaction questionnaire. These findings indicate that CIGT-S may represent a feasible, cost-effective approach that can be flexibly used with patients and family members of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

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