Some caregiver burden scales designed for chronic schizophrenia may be inappropriate for use with families of individuals who are experiencing a first-episode of psychosis (FEP). The aims of the study were to determine the usefulness for FEP families of the Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI), a scale originally designed for use with family members of Alzheimer's patients. The CBI, Experience of Caregiving Scale (ECI) and the Psychological General Well-Being Scale (PGWB) were administered to the relatives of 113 individuals with a FEP at admission to an early psychosis program and again at 6-, 12-, and 24-month follow-ups. Ratings on the CBI improved significantly over the follow-up period. The CBI was significantly associated with the ECI and with ratings of psychological distress. The most significant predictor of psychological distress was ratings on the CBI and not the severity of symptoms or impaired functioning. Overall, the CBI appeared to be a reliable and valid measure for use with FEP families. This short and easy to score measure may be useful for families of young people presenting with FEP.