Objective: To introduce a psychoeducational program for patients of at-risk mental state and its preliminary evaluation.
Methods: The psychoeducational program was designed as a purely informative intervention and consisted of seven 1-h sessions. Sixteen at-risk mental state patients (mean age 26+/-4.9 years, 12 males/4 females, mean score on prodromal psychopathology (Bonn Scale for Assessment of predictive Basis Symptoms [BSABS-P] 18.6+/-13.3) were investigated.
Results: Comparisons of means before and after psychoeducation showed a significant reduction in psychopathology and fatalistic LoC as well as an improvement in knowledge, global functioning and various areas of QoL. A qualitative evaluation of the psychoeducational program also showed advantages from patients' perspectives.
Conclusions: This study provides empirical evidence for benefits of psychoeducation with patients of at-risk mental state for schizophrenia but is exploratory and has some limitations, e.g. the small sample size. Therefore the results have to be replicated in a randomized controlled trial in order to be able to demonstrate conclusively the effectiveness of psychoeducation in the pre-psychotic phase.
Practice implications: Results from this preliminary study suggest that psychoeducation is a promising intervention for patients of at-risk mental state for schizophrenia, and therefore worthy of more investigations.