Psychological interventions for psychosis; a meta-analysis of social skills training followed by a randomised controlled experimental study assessing the impact of meta-cognitive training addressing the jumping-to-conclusions bias on capacity
Turner, David T.
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Background There now exist a range of efficacious options for the treatment of psychosis in mental healthcare. The importance of recovery, empowerment, dignity and choice among patients with severe mental health diagnoses are important topics in contemporary research and practice. This thesis presents a meta-analytic review followed by a randomised controlled experimental study. These address distinct but related questions which aim to further our understanding of the choices available for intervention in psychosis and whether intervention may improve the ability of psychosis patients to make those choices. Aims The first objective aimed to offer a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of social skills training (SST), which is a psychological intervention for psychosis. SST has fallen out of favour in the UK and is not widely implemented in practice. We hypothesised that SST would demonstrate superiority for the negative symptoms of psychosis. The second objective was to determine whether decision-making capacity regarding treatment among psychosis patients could be improved by the application of a brief psycho-educational intervention targeting the jumping-to-conclusions (JTC) bias, which is a commonly observed cognitive bias in psychosis. We hypothesised that the intervention would improve decision-making capacity. Methods Firstly, a series of 70 meta-analyses are presented in a systematic review assessing the efficacy of social skills training across a number of psychosis outcome domains: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, general symptoms, overall symptoms and social functioning outcomes. Secondly, a randomised controlled experimental study is presented in which 36 psychosis patients in NHS Lanarkshire and 1 in NHS Dumfries & Galloway were allocated to receive either a brief meta-cognitive training (MCT) intervention or an non-specific control presentation lecture. Capacity was assessed at baseline and post-treatment while the impact of the intervention upon capacity was estimated by ANCOVA. Mediation analyses assessed whether changes in the JTC bias mediated outcome. Findings In the meta-analytic review, SST demonstrated superiority over treatment as usual (TAU. g=0.3), active controls (g=0.2-0.3) and comparators pooled (g=0.2- 0.3) for negative symptoms; and over TAU (g=0.4) and comparators pooled (g=0.3) for general psychopathology. In the randomised controlled study, MCT demonstrated large effects on two capacity outcomes; overall capacity (d=0.96, p<.05) and appreciation (d=0.87, p<.05). Exploratory analyses suggested a mediating effect of JTC (d=0.64, p<.05). Interpretation SST demonstrates a magnitude of effect for negative symptoms similar to those commonly reported for CBT for positive symptoms and may have potential for wider implementation in mental healthcare settings. The randomised controlled study suggests that psycho-educational interventions targeting capacity have clinical utility and may be developed for implementation. Limitations included lack of blinding, no fidelity checks and inclusion based on clinical diagnosis therefore a larger randomised controlled trial addressing these limitations is warranted.