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Family support predicts psychiatric medication usage among Mexican American individuals with schizophrenia

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Support provided by family caregivers to persons with schizophrenia is a viable intervention focus to improve psychiatric medication usage. However, little is known about the relation between medication usage and family support as well as other key caregiving factors.


Family support and Expressed Emotion (EE) dimensions were tested as predictors of medication usage during a 9-month period following psychiatric hospital discharge in a sample of 30 individuals of Mexican descent with schizophrenia.


Family instrumental support predicted higher medication usage (Odds Ratio = 4.8) in multivariate analyses that statistically adjusted for the impact of emotional support, family EE, and psychiatric status (e.g., positive symptoms) on medication usage.


Findings suggest that efforts to improve medication usage among Mexican American individuals with schizophrenia should take into account social supportive factors such as instrumental or directive, hands-on assistance from family caregivers.

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This research was supported by a National Institute of Mental Health NRSA Training Grant MH14584 (Psychological Research on Schizophrenic Conditions) to the first author. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Family Research Consortium IV, San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July 2004 with support from NIMH to the first author. The paper is partially based on the Honors Thesis of the third author. The first author would like to thank Nicole Allen, Howard Berenbaum, Adriana Umaña-Taylor, and Edelyn Verona for their input on previous drafts.

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Correspondence to Jorge I. Ramírez García.

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Ramírez García, J.I., Chang, C.L., Young, J.S. et al. Family support predicts psychiatric medication usage among Mexican American individuals with schizophrenia. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol 41, 624–631 (2006).

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Key words

  • medication usage or medication compliance
  • schizophrenia
  • family support
  • expressed emotion
  • Mexican Americans