Effectiveness of a brief cognitive-behavioural therapy intervention in the treatment of schizophrenia

Br J Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;180:523-7. doi: 10.1192/bjp.180.6.523.


Background: Little evidence exists to indicate whether community psychiatric nurses can achieve the results reported by expert cognitive-behavioural therapists in patients with schizophrenia.

Aims: To assess the effectiveness and safety of a brief cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) intervention in a representative community sample of patients with schizophrenia in secondary care settings.

Method: A pragmatic randomised trial was performed involving 422 patients and carers to compare a brief CBT intervention against treatment as usual.

Results: Patients who received CBT (n=257) improved in overall symptomatology (P=0.015; number needed to treat [NNT]=13), insight (P<0.001; NNT=10) and depression (P=0.003; NNT=9) compared with the control group (n=165). Insight was clinically significantly improved (risk ratio=1.15, 95% CI 1.01-1.31). There was no increase in suicidal ideation.

Conclusions: Community psychiatric nurses can safely and effectively deliver a brief CBT intervention to patients with schizophrenia and their carers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / education
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome