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Coping With Schizophrenia in Forensic Services: The Needs of Relatives

Absalom-Hornby, Victoria BSc Hons, PG Dip CBT*; Gooding, Patricia MSc, PhD*; Tarrier, Nicholas PhD, FBPsS

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2011 - Volume 199 - Issue 6 - p 398-402
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31821cd394
Original Articles

This study aimed to assess the needs of the relatives of patients in forensic services and to understand their concerns, perceptions, and ability to cope with the symptoms of schizophrenia. The needs of 18 relatives were assessed using the Family Questionnaire (FQ; Quinn et al., Acta Psychiatr Scand 108:290-296, 2003) and the Relatives' Cardinal Needs Schedule (RCNS; Barrowclough et al., Psychol Med 28:531-542, 1998). The FQ revealed that all symptoms were rated as "frequent." The RCNS supported the data from the FQ because the relatives displayed a need for support and information about the mental illness of schizophrenia. Antisocial behavior was rated as the highest cardinal need (83%), with negative symptoms, interpersonal behavior, psychotic symptoms, and affective symptoms also rated as cardinal needs by more than half of the relatives. The relatives have to cope with a range of symptoms and behaviors displayed by the forensic patient, which can be extremely difficult. Forensic services should provide support for families making information about antisocial behavior a priority.

*Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; and †Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, London, UK.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Health Service North West Specialised Commissioning Team.

This paper was submitted as part of V. Absalom-Hornby's PhD thesis, Division of Clinical Psychology, The University of Manchester.

Send reprint requests to Victoria Absalom-Hornby, BSc Hons, PG Dip CBT, Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester, 2nd Floor, Zochonis Building, Brunswick Street, Manchester, M13 9PL UK. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.