Aim: To study the efficacy of a need based psychosocial and yoga programme on burden and coping of caregivers of in-patients with schizophrenia
Method: 137 consenting family caregivers of in-patients with schizophrenia were randomized into one of the four need-based interventions (one week – one hour): yoga (n=36), psychosocial (n=32), combined (n=30), care as usual (n=39). Outcome measures (burden, coping, knowledge, anxiety and depression, social support) were rated by trained mental health professionals who were blind to the group status at the start of the study, end of the intervention, 1 month and 3 months post intervention.
Results: RMANOVA showed that caregivers in all four groups improved significantly in all outcomes over time. However there were no significant differences across the groups in the burden and coping of caregivers over the 3 months study period. The improvement in knowledge about the illness in the combined intervention group was significantly more than in the other groups (F=2.62; p<0.01). Significant positive correlations was observed between patient’ symptom severity and burden of the caregivers both at the baseline (r=0.197; p<0.05) and at the final follow-up (r=0.307; p<0.01)
Conclusion: This study has not shown any difference in the reduction of burden and improvement of coping among the caregivers of persons with schizophrenia, across the four groups over three months period. The most important determinant of the burden of caregivers was severity of patient’ symptoms. Future studies may employ longer duration of interventions and follow-up focusing on caregivers who continue to perceive high burden despite their patients receiving care as usual, for conclusive results.