Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of the illness management and recovery (IMR) program on symptoms and psychosocial functioning of individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in an outpatient setting in Sweden.
Methods: A total of 41 persons with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who were receiving treatment at six psychiatric outpatient rehabilitation centers were randomly assigned to either an IMR group for nine months or to treatment as usual (control condition). Assessments were conducted at baseline, posttreatment (nine months), and follow-up (21 months) and included self-reports and ratings by clinicians (both blind and nonblind to treatment assignment) of illness management, psychiatric symptoms, recovery, coping, quality of life, hospitalization, insight, and suicidal ideation.
Results: As measured by self-report and ratings of nonblinded clinicians, IMR program participants demonstrated significantly greater improvement in illness management than participants in the control condition. Ratings of psychiatric symptoms by blinded clinicians using the Psychosis Evaluation Tool for Common Use by Caregivers and self-reported ratings of psychosocial functioning on the Ways of Coping Questionnaire also showed better outcomes than for participants in treatment as usual. A statistically significant decrease in suicidal ideation between baseline and follow-up was found for IMR program participants.
Conclusions: The study supports previous findings and suggests that the IMR program is effective in improving the ability of individuals with schizophrenia to better manage their illness.