Pragmatic randomised controlled trial of group psychoeducation versus group support in the maintenance of bipolar disorder

Morriss, Richard K; Lobban, Fiona; Jones, Steven; Riste, Lisa; Peters, Sarah; Roberts, Christopher; Davies, Linda; Mayes, Debbie
January 2011
BMC Psychiatry;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p114
Academic Journal
Background: Non-didactically delivered curriculum based group psychoeducation has been shown to be more effective than both group support in a specialist mood disorder centre in Spain (with effects lasting up to five years), and treatment as usual in Australia. It is unclear whether the specific content and form of group psychoeducation is effective or the chance to meet and work collaboratively with other peers. The main objective of this trial is to determine whether curriculum based group psychoeducation is more clinically and cost effective than unstructured peer group support. Methods/design: Single blind two centre cluster randomised controlled trial of 21 sessions group psychoeducation versus 21 sessions group peer support in adults with bipolar 1 or 2 disorder, not in current episode but relapsed in the previous two years. Individual randomisation is to either group at each site. The groups are carefully matched for the number and type of therapists, length and frequency of the interventions and overall aim of the groups but differ in content and style of delivery. The primary outcome is time to next bipolar episode with measures of the therapeutic process, barriers and drivers to the effective delivery of the interventions and economic analysis. Follow up is for 96 weeks after randomisation. Discussion: The trial has features of both an efficacy and an effectiveness trial design. For generalisability in England it is set in routine public mental health practice with a high degree of expert patient involvement. Trial Registration: ISRCTN62761948 Funding: National Institute for Health Research, England.


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