The resource group method in severe mental illness: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial and a qualitative multiple case study

Cathelijn D. Tjaden*, Cornelis L. Mulder, Jaap van Weeghel, Philippe Delespaul, Rene Keet, Stynke Castelein, Jenny Boumans, Eva Leeman, Ulf Malm, Hans Kroon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BackgroundThe resource group method provides a structure to facilitate patients' empowerment and recovery processes, and to systematically engage significant others in treatment and care. A patient chooses members of a resource group (RG) that will work together on fulfilling patients' recovery plan. By adopting shared decision-making processes and stimulating collaboration of different support systems, a broad and continuous support of patients' chosen goals and wishes is preserved and problem solving and communication skills of the RG members are addressed.ObjectiveThe objectives of this study are (1) to establish the effectiveness of the RG method in increasing empowerment in patients with severe mental illnesses (SMI) in the Netherlands; (2) to investigate the cost-effectiveness and cost utility of the RG method; and (3) to qualitatively explore its dynamics and processes.Methods/designThis multisite randomized controlled trial will compare the effects of the RG-method integrated in Flexible Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) (90 patients) with those of standard FACT (90 patients). Baseline assessments and 9-month and 18-month follow-up assessments will be conducted in face-to-face home visits. The primary outcome measure, empowerment, will be assessed using the Netherlands Empowerment List (NEL). The secondary outcomes will be quality of life (MANSA); personal, community and clinical recovery (I.ROC); general, social and community functioning (WHODAS 2.0); general psychopathological signs and symptoms (BSI-18); and societal costs (TiC-P). An economic evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and cost utility of the RG method will also be conducted. A qualitative multiple case-study will be added to collect patients', RG members' and professionals' perspectives by in-depth interviews, observations and focus groups.DiscussionThis trial will be the first to study the effects of the RG method on empowerment in patients with SMI. By combining clinical-effectiveness data with an economic evaluation and in-depth qualitative information from primary stakeholders, it will provide a detailed overview of the RG method as a mean of improving care for patients with SMI.Trial registration The study has been registered in the Dutch Trial Register, identifier: NTR6737, September 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Systems
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2019


  • Community mental health
  • Severe mental illness
  • Recovery
  • Empowerment
  • Family
  • Family intervention
  • Care structure
  • (Flexible) Assertive Community Treatment
  • Resource group
  • RACT
  • FACT

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