A randomized waitlist control community study of Social Cognition and Interaction Training for people with schizophrenia
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Objective Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT) has demonstrated effectiveness in improving social cognition and functioning of people with schizophrenia. This pilot study examines the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of SCIT with individuals who have schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and are receiving care through a public mental health service. Method In a pragmatic randomized waitlist controlled trial, 36 participants (aged 19–55 years) with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder were randomly allocated to SCIT or treatment as usual (TAU). Measures of theory of mind, emotion perception, attributional bias, social skills, quality of life, life skills, depression, anxiety, and stress were administered pre- and post-intervention with follow-up conducted 4 months later. All wait-list controls subsequently received the intervention and a secondary within-group analysis was conducted including these participants. Results While no significant differences were found between groups on any outcomes, there was strong engagement with the SCIT intervention. Of the 21 participants in the intervention group, the completion rate was 85.71% with a median attendance rate of 17 sessions. Within subject analyses of SCIT participants over time showed significant improvements in quality of life, emotion recognition, social skills, and a trend towards better life skills from pre- to post-intervention. These gains were sustained at the 4-month follow-up time. Conclusions and implications for practice Although this study showed limited benefits in outcomes associated with SCIT compared with TAU, it demonstrated the acceptability of SCIT to participants in a real world public health setting shown by high retention, attendance, and positive feedback. This pilot shows SCIT can be implemented in routine clinical practice and lays the foundation for a larger pragmatic study. Practitioner points SCIT can be implemented successfully in a real-world community mental health setting. SCIT had high levels of acceptability to these participants. Limitations The small sample size meant there was insufficient power to detect differences between groups on outcome measures. The study did not include measures of psychiatric symptoms or neuropsychological functioning which may have influenced participants’ capacity to benefit from SCIT.
British Journal of Clinical Psychology
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Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology