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Life skills programmes for chronic mental illnesses


Tungpunkom, P. and Margaret Nicol, M.

Topic: Mental Health
Chronic Conditions
Type: Article
Region: International (other)

Most people with schizophrenia have a cyclical pattern of illness characterised by remission and relapses. The illness can reduce the ability of self-care and functioning and can lead to the illness becoming chronic and disabling. Rehabilitation is one of the important parts of treatments. Life skills programmes, emphasising the needs associated with independent functioning, are often a part of the rehabilitation process. These programmes, therefore, have been developed to enhance independent living and the quality of life for people with schizophrenia living in the community. Objectives To review the effectiveness of life skills programmes with standard care or other comparable therapies for people with chronic mental health problems. The authors included all relevant randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials for life skills programmes versus other comparable therapies or standard care involving people with serious mental illnesses. The authors included four randomised controlled trials with a total of 318 participants. These evaluated life skills programmes versus standard care, or support group. They found no significant difference in life skills performance between people given life skills training and standard care (Patterson 2003, n=32, WMD -1.10 CI -7.8 to 5.6). Life skills training did not improve or worsen study retention (n=60, 2 RCTs, RR 1.16 CI 0.4 to 3.4). They found no significant difference in PANSS positive, negative or total scores between life skills intervention and standard care. Depression scores (HAM-D) did not reveal any significant difference between groups (Patterson 2003, n=32, WMD -0.70 CI -4.1 to 2.7). They found quality of life scores to be equivocal between participants given life skills training (Patterson 2003, n=32, WMD -0.02 CI -0.1 to 0.03) and standard care. Life skills compared with support groups also did not reveal any significant differences in PANSS scores, quality of life, or social performance skills (Patterson 2006, n=158, WMD -0.90 CI -3.4 to 1.6).



Rights: © The Cochrane Collaboration
Suggested citation:

Tungpunkom, P. and Margaret Nicol, M.. (2008) Life skills programmes for chronic mental illnesses [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st September 2019].


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