Family-responsive psychoeducation groups for families with an adult member with mental illness: Pilot results

David E. Pollio, Carol S North, Victoria A. Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This paper documents recent pilot efforts of the Psychoeducation Responsive to Family (PERF) model, a yearlong group for families with an adult member coping with mental illness. PERF advances state-of-the-art in its: (a) application in community settings; (b) utility for families coping with all types of mental illness; (c) use of a standardized model, yet retaining a flexible curriculum responsive to family group membership concerns; and (d) recruitment from one-day family workshops of participants eager to further explore their issues. This report examines changes in these families' knowledge and mastery in a small random assignment study comparing the PERF model (n = 9) with a "usual services" (n = 10) condition. Study participants completed surveys measuring perceived mastery and knowledge at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months for both conditions. Families in the active PERF intervention demonstrated significant post-intervention improvements in four of five variables analyzed. For one of these items, PERF demonstrated significantly greater improvement than the usual care condition. Achievement of significant changes in these measures was examined in relation to timing of presentation of curriculum topics in the groups. Gains in perceived crisis effectiveness temporally correlated with coverage of that topic in the PERF groups, while gains in other items were instead steadily cumulative across the entire year. The encouraging results of this second pilot effort serve to substantiate the initial efforts in developing the PERF group model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • Family
  • Groups
  • Mental illness
  • Psychoeducation
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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