Psychoeducation provides adult consumers who have serious mental illness or co-occurring substance use disorders with information to support recovery. Some models also provide this service to family members. This review examined the evidence base for psychoeducation models in group and individual formats.
Authors reviewed meta-analyses, research reviews, and individual studies from 1995 through 2012. Databases surveyed were PubMed, PsycINFO, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress, the Educational Resources Information Center, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Authors chose from three levels of evidence (high, moderate, and low) on the basis of benchmarks for the number of studies and quality of their methodology. They also described service effectiveness.
More than 30 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of consumer psychoeducation and more than 100 RCTs of family psychoeducation provide a high level of evidence for the effectiveness of each model. Reviews of consumer psychoeducation found that experimental groups had reduced nonadherence (primarily with medication regimens), fewer relapses, and reduced hospitalization rates compared with control groups. Some studies found significant improvements in social and global functioning, consumer satisfaction, and quality of life. Multifamily psychoeducation groups (the focus of numerous studies) were associated with significantly improved problem-solving ability and a reduced burden on families, compared with control groups, among other strong outcome effects.
Psychoeducation should be included in covered services. Group and family interventions are especially powerful. Future research should assess psychoeducation models with children and adolescents and with individuals from various racial and ethnic backgrounds.