International journal of psychiatry in clinical practice vol:5 issue:2 pages:89-96
A growing number of studies reflects an increasing growing interest in the burden on the family (BF) of sufferers from schizophrenia. Many of these studies aim at revealing and identifying the variables that determine BF. This review compares and discusses the results of these studies. Although many variables, such as the diagnosis and symptoms of the patient, the duration of the illness, the treatment setting (outpatient/inpatient), the family relationship between the patient and the relative, and the type of family intervention (counselling and psycho-education) are examined in various studies, there is little consensus on which factors determine the extent and/or pattern of BF. In our opinion, this lack of consistency is mainly caused by: (1) the varieties of definitions and operationalizations of BF employed; (2) the fact that most studies examine only one or just a few variables, so that variables other than those examined may have varied between studies; and (3) the difference in the periods of time discussed in the different studies. To gain more insight into the factors that determine BF, a better standardization of the definition and operationalization of BF, as well as of the period of time studied, is needed, as well as exhaustive studies examining, the various factors that may determine BF.