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Review: limited evidence suggests that life skills programmes are no more effective than standard care or support groups for rehabilitation in chronic mental illnesses

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Question: Do life skills programmes effectively enhance independent living and quality of life for people with chronic mental health problems?

Outcomes: Primary Outcomes: Clinically important changes in general life skills (defined as a ≥50% improvement on any scale); relapse; clinically important changes in general mental state. Secondary Outcomes: General and specific life skills; global state; service outcome (hospitalisation); mental state; general functioning; behaviour; adverse effects; engagement in services; satisfaction with treatment; quality of life.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Trials Register (June 2010) was searched with supplemental hand searching of included studies' reference lists.

Study selection and analysis: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of life skills programmes versus comparable therapies or standard care in adults between the ages of 18 and 60 years with chronic mental illness diagnosed by any criteria. Trials enrolling people with dementia, alcoholism, organic brain syndrome or those at serious suicidal risk were excluded. The review used a random-effects model, calculating RRs for dichotomous variables and mean differences (MD) for continuous variables. Heterogeneity …

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  • Sources of funding No external support was reported; internal support was provided by Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Thailand; Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, London, UK; Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, UK.


  • Competing interests None.