Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Multifamily Group Psychoeducation and Cognitive Remediation for First-Episode Psychosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Nicholas JK Breitborde12*, Francisco A Moreno12, Natalie Mai-Dixon3, Rachele Peterson1, Linda Durst12, Beth Bernstein12, Seenaiah Byreddy1 and William R McFarlane4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., PO Box 245002, Tucson, AZ, 85724-5002, USA

2 Department of Psychiatry, University Physicians Hospital, 2800 E. Ajo Way, Tucson, Arizona, 85713, USA

3 Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, New York, 14642, USA

4 Department of Psychiatry, Maine Medical Center, 295 Park Ave., Portland, Maine, 04102, USA

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BMC Psychiatry 2011, 11:9  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-11-9

Published: 12 January 2011



Multifamily group psychoeducation (MFG) has been shown to reduce relapse rates among individuals with first-episode psychosis. However, given the cognitive demands associated with participating in this intervention (e.g., learning and applying a structured problem-solving activity), the cognitive deficits that accompany psychotic disorders may limit the ability of certain individuals to benefit from this intervention. Thus, the goal of this study is to examine whether individuals with first-episode psychosis who participate simultaneously in MFG and cognitive remediation--an intervention shown to improve cognitive functioning among individuals with psychotic disorders--will be less likely to experience a relapse than individuals who participate in MFG alone.


Forty individuals with first-episode psychosis and their caregiving relative will be recruited to participate in this study. Individuals with first-episode psychosis will be randomized to one of two conditions: (i) MFG with concurrent participation in cognitive remediation or (ii) MFG alone. The primary outcome for this study is relapse of psychotic symptoms. We will also examine secondary outcomes among both individuals with first-episode psychosis (i.e., social and vocational functioning, health-related quality of life, service utilization, independent living status, and cognitive functioning) and their caregiving relatives (i.e., caregiver burden, anxiety, and depression)


Cognitive remediation offers the possibility of ameliorating a specific deficit (i.e., deficits in cognitive functioning) that often accompanies psychotic symptoms and may restrict the magnitude of the clinical benefits derived from MFG.

Trial Registration

ClinicalTrials (NCT): NCT01196286