Psychosocial family interventions for relatives of people living with psychotic disorders in the Arab world: systematic review

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BACKGROUND: Family interventions in schizophrenia are evidence based and have been adapted to different cultural settings to improve their effectiveness and acceptability. The Arab world has a unique set of socio-cultural norms and values that cannot be ignored when developing or implementing such interventions. There is a lack of research on the feasibility of delivering family interventions for schizophrenia in the Arab region. The aim of this review is to synthesise the available evidence about culturally-adapted psychosocial family interventions in the Arab world. The review identifies the content and characteristics of these interventions, determines the strategies used to adapt them to Arab culture successfully, assesses the feasibility and acceptability of the interventions, and evaluates the effectiveness of these interventions for service users and their families.

METHOD: Five electronic databases were searched including MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO and EMBASE for articles written in Arabic and English from inception to August 2019. Data were extracted and synthesised narratively.

RESULTS: Six studies were retrieved from the search: three randomised control studies, two non-randomised studies and one qualitative study. There is limited evidence about culturally-adapted family interventions in the Arab region. However, the cultural adaptation process was comprehensive, and the implementation was reported to be feasible and acceptable. The methodological quality of the included studies was generally poor, so there is a risk of underestimating the effect size of the interventions due to lack of rigour and the presence of bias.

CONCLUSION: The present review provides the foundation for future work regarding family interventions in the Arab world, and confirms the feasibility of implementing such interventions with some modifications. Furthermore, the data suggests that any family-oriented intervention for schizophrenia is likely to be better than standard care in improving the outcome for patients and their families.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number413
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020