The present study aimed to investigate possible differences in family environment among patients experiencing their First Episode of Psychosis (FEP), chronic patients and controls. Family cohesion and flexibility (FACES-IV) and psychological distress (GHQ-28) were evaluated in families of 50 FEP and 50 chronic patients, as well as 50 controls, whereas expressed emotion (FQ) and family burden (FBS) were assessed in families of FEP and chronic patients. Multivariable linear regression analysis, adjusted for confounders, indicated impaired cohesion and flexibility for families of FEP patients compared to controls, and lower scores for families of chronic patients compared to those of FEP patients. Caregivers of chronic patients scored significantly higher in criticism, and reported higher burden and psychological distress than those of FEP patients. Our findings suggest that unbalanced levels of cohesion and flexibility, high criticism and burden appeared to be the outcome of psychosis and not risk factors triggering the onset of the illness. Furthermore, emotional over-involvement both in terms of positive (i.e. concern) and negative behaviors (i.e. overprotection) is prevalent in Greek families. Psychoeducational interventions from the early stages of the illness should be considered to promote caregivers' awareness regarding the patients' illness, which in turn, may ameliorate dysfunctional family interactions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry