Content and curriculum in psychoeducation groups for families of persons with severe mental illness

David E. Pollio, Carol S North, Douglas A. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: The study compared problems identified by participants in a workshop for families with a relative who had severe mental illness with topics addressed in published description of multifamily psychoeducational interventions to determine whether the problems and needs of family members differed from those covered in professionally prepared psychoeducational materials. Methods: Participants in a one-day psychoeducational workshop were asked to identify and rank in order of importance the problems they faced in managing mental illness. Most workshop participants were family members who did not have a severe mental illness, but family members with a severe mental illness and mental health service providers also attended. Lists of problems generated by 86 participants containing a total of 355 items were analyzed for content, and 11 problem categories were identified and ranked. These categories were then compared with the content of multifamily psychoeducation programs described in the literature. Results: Although the methodology limited generalizability of findings, the results suggest important distinctions between content developed by professionals and the needs identified by family members, particularly in families' greater emphasis on negative symptoms and on family relationships. Conclusions: The findings suggest that input from the family, the ill family member, and mental health providers is necessary for developing psychoeducation curricula that will meet families' needs. Professionals who design multifamily psychoeducation curricula are encouraged to incorporate enough flexibility to accommodate the specific needs of members of particular groups and to provide general information that is useful for all groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-822
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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