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Web Based Supportive Intervention for Families Living with Schizophrenia—An Open Trial

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DOI: 10.4236/ojmp.2013.24028    3,339 Downloads   5,134 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Background: Web based modalities should be explored to support families living with mental illness. A web based tool including a psychoeducative module, a diary and a password protected forum was developed aimed at relatives’ of a person with schizophrenia to alleviate daily life. Aim: The aim of the present study was to explore participants’ use of the web based tool with focus on the forum and its potential health and psychosocial benefits. Methods: Nineteen persons participated in this explorative open trial. The forum posts were analyzed using content analysis. Self-rating instruments assessing caregiver burden, stigma and the tool’s usability were analyzed with descriptive statistics. Results: The qualitative analysis resulted in four main categories and subcategories describing relatives’ situation and interaction in the forum: Caring for a Person with Schizophrenia, Crisis and Care, Secrecy vs Openness, and Interaction and Social Support. Experiences of caregiver burden, but also fulfillment with caregiving tasks were reported. Concealing or hiding the family’s mental illness was common, but also the ability to use inner strength to cope with stigma and discrimination. The mean usability score was 59 (70 = good). Conclusion: Web based support can help address some of the families’ needs of support, although it encompasses certain limitations. Patient rights and the availability of resources, especially in cases of emergency, need to be made easily visible and accessible to alleviate families’ burden.

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S. Stjernswärd and L. Hansson, "Web Based Supportive Intervention for Families Living with Schizophrenia—An Open Trial," Open Journal of Medical Psychology, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2013, pp. 183-192. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2013.24028.

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