Understanding families in their own context: Schizophrenia and structural family therapy in Beijing

Lawrence Hsin Yang, Veronica J. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence from a number of family intervention strategies demonstrates a beneficial impact on the course of schizophrenia. It appears that different family interventions have generic features that aid the patient to avoid relapse and improve functioning. A significant challenge for researchers is to modify these generic strategies to be sensitive to different cultural groups in order to ensure their effectiveness. Chinese culture, with its distinct cultural norms governing family interaction and intense stigma towards the mentally ill, would seem to raise a particular challenge. This paper offers an account of an eclectic model of structural family therapy that incorporates psychoeducation and behavioural treatments for schizophrenia as a theoretical guide to working in a cross-cultural context. A Beijing family, consisting of parents and their daughter with schizophrenia, were seen for sixteen months during a trial of family intervention in China. Through structural family concepts, China's sociocultural context of treatment resource constraints, population policy and stigma are examined and the impact of the illness on family organization is explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-257
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Family Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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