Illness Management and Recovery : Implementation and evaluation of a psychosocial program for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder

Sammanfattning: The aim of the present thesis was to examine the effectiveness of the Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) program for teaching clients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder to better manage their illness and to promote recovery. This was accomplished through an examination of the program’s effects on psychosocial functioning and psychopathology, the evaluation of general and specific impact of neurocognition on learning the fundamentals of illness self-management, and the impact of symptom severity on outcome of the IMR program. The utility of the illness management and recovery scale to evaluate illness self-management of clients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder was also investigated.The effects of the IMR program were evaluated in a randomized controlled trial that compared participants in the program to participants receiving treatment as usual. 41 participants were recruited at six psychiatric outpatient rehabilitation centers in Uppsala, Sweden, and were randomly assigned to IMR groups for approximately 40 sessions or to a treatment as usual control condition. The IMR program participants demonstrated greater improvement compared to participants in treatment as usual in illness self-management, reduced psychiatric symptoms, improved coping skills, and decreases in suicidal ideation. The findings suggest that the IMR program is effective in improving the ability of individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder to better manage their illness.Possible association between neurocognitive functioning and the acquisition of illness self-management skills was investigated in a total of 53 participants who completed the IMR program. Speed of processing was related to client reported illness self-management skills acquisition, before and after controlling for psychiatric symptoms and medication, but neurocognitive functioning did not predict improvement in clinician ratings of client illness self-management skills. The findings suggest that compromised neurocognitive functioning does not reduce response to training in illness self-management.The impact of symptom severity on outcome of the IMR program was explored in 52 participants who completed the program. The results suggest that significantly more participants met the severity criterion of remission at post-treatment, and it appears that participants not reaching the severity criterion at post-treatment, also benefited from the IMR program, as indicated by the similar effect sizes of the two subgroups (meeting versus not meeting the severity criterion at post-treatment).The psychometric properties of the Illness Management and Recovery Scale (IMRS) were evaluated in 107 participants with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. And an item-by-item investigation was conducted in order to establish their utility in monitoring the clients' progress in the IMR program. Both the client and clinician version of the IMRS demonstrated satisfactory internal consistency, large test-retest reliability, and convergent validity with conceptually related measures of psychiatric symptoms, quality of life, and perception of recovery. The findings support the utility of the IMRS as a measure of illness self-management and recovery in clients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.The general findings of this thesis support the IMR program to be effective in improving the ability of the participants to manage their disorder. The impact of neurocognitive dysfunction on the participants’ ability to learn the fundamentals of illness self-management seems to be limited, and symptom severity did not limit the benefits of the IMR program. Support for the utility of the IMRS to monitor the participants’ progress in the program was also found, providing a brief and economical method for assessing outcome of the IMR program.