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Developing, elaborating, and consolidating positive views of the self is a plausible route to increased psychological well-being. We set out to provide an assessment of positive self-beliefs that could be used in research and clinical practice.
A non-probability online survey was conducted with 2500 UK adults, quota sampled to match the population for age, gender, ethnicity, income, and region. Exploratory factor analysis of a 94-item pool – generated with guidance from people with lived experience of mental health difficulties – was conducted to develop the Oxford Positive Self Scale (OxPos). The item pool was further reduced using regularised structural equation modelling (SEM) before confirmatory factor analysis. Optimal cut-off scores were developed using receiver operating characteristic curves. Additional validations were carried out with two further general population cohorts (n = 1399; n = 1693).
A 24-item scale was developed with an excellent model fit [robust χ2 = 995.676; df = 246; CFI = 0.956; TLI = 0.951; RMSEA = 0.049 (0.047, 0.052); SRMR = 0.031]. The scale comprises four factors: mastery; strength; enjoyment; and character. SEM indicated that the scale explains 68.6% of variance in psychological well-being. The OxPos score was negatively correlated with depression (r = −0.49), anxious avoidance (r = −0.34), paranoia (r = −0.23), hallucinations (r = −0.20), and negative self-beliefs (r = −0.50), and positively correlated with psychological well-being (r = 0.79), self-esteem (r = 0.67), and positive social comparison (r = 0.72). Internal reliability and test–retest reliability were excellent. Cut-offs by age and gender were generated. A short-form was developed, explaining 96% of the full-scale variance.
The new open access scale provides a psychometrically robust assessment of positive cognitions that are strongly connected to psychological well-being.
Automated virtual reality therapies are being developed to increase access to psychological interventions. We assessed the experience with one such therapy of patients diagnosed with psychosis, including satisfaction, side effects, and positive experiences of access to the technology. We tested whether side effects affected therapy.
In a clinical trial 122 patients diagnosed with psychosis completed baseline measures of psychiatric symptoms, received gameChange VR therapy, and then completed a satisfaction questionnaire, the Oxford-VR Side Effects Checklist, and outcome measures.
79 (65.8%) patients were very satisfied with VR therapy, 37 (30.8%) were mostly satisfied, 3 (2.5%) were indifferent/mildly dissatisfied, and 1 (0.8%) person was quite dissatisfied. The most common side effects were: difficulties concentrating because of thinking about what might be happening in the room (n = 17, 14.2%); lasting headache (n = 10, 8.3%); and the headset causing feelings of panic (n = 9, 7.4%). Side effects formed three factors: difficulties concentrating when wearing a headset, feelings of panic using VR, and worries following VR. The occurrence of side effects was not associated with number of VR sessions, therapy outcomes, or psychiatric symptoms. Difficulties concentrating in VR were associated with slightly lower satisfaction. VR therapy provision and engagement made patients feel: proud (n = 99, 81.8%); valued (n = 97, 80.2%); and optimistic (n = 96, 79.3%).
Patients with psychosis were generally very positive towards the VR therapy, valued having the opportunity to try the technology, and experienced few adverse effects. Side effects did not significantly impact VR therapy. Patient experience of VR is likely to facilitate widespread adoption.
Persecutory fears build on feelings of vulnerability that arise from negative views of the self. Body image concerns have the potential to be a powerful driver of feelings of vulnerability. Body image concerns are likely raised in patients with psychosis given the frequent weight gain. We examined for the first-time body esteem – the self-evaluation of appearance – in relation to symptom and psychological correlates in patients with current persecutory delusions.
One-hundred and fifteen patients with persecutory delusions in the context of non-affective psychosis completed assessments of body image, self-esteem, body mass index (BMI), psychiatric symptoms and well-being. Body esteem was also assessed in 200 individuals from the general population.
Levels of body esteem were much lower in patients with psychosis than non-clinical controls (d = 1.2, p < 0.001). In patients, body esteem was lower in women than men, and in the overweight or obese BMI categories than the normal weight range. Body image concerns were associated with higher levels of depression (r = −0.55, p < 0.001), negative self-beliefs (r = −0.52, p < 0.001), paranoia (r = −0.25, p = 0.006) and hallucinations (r = −0.21, p = 0.025). Body image concerns were associated with lower levels of psychological wellbeing (r = 0.41, p < 0.001), positive self-beliefs (r = 0.40, p < 0.001), quality of life (r = 0.23, p = 0.015) and overall health (r = 0.31, p = 0.001).
Patients with current persecutory delusions have low body esteem. Body image concerns are associated with poorer physical and mental health, including more severe psychotic experiences. Improving body image for patients with psychosis is a plausible target of intervention, with the potential to result in a wide range of benefits.
Many patients with mental health disorders become increasingly isolated at home due to anxiety about going outside. A cognitive perspective on this difficulty is that threat cognitions lead to the safety-seeking behavioural response of agoraphobic avoidance.
We sought to develop a brief questionnaire, suitable for research and clinical practice, to assess a wide range of cognitions likely to lead to agoraphobic avoidance. We also included two additional subscales assessing two types of safety-seeking defensive responses: anxious avoidance and within-situation safety behaviours.
198 patients with psychosis and agoraphobic avoidance and 1947 non-clinical individuals completed the item pool and measures of agoraphobic avoidance, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, depression and paranoia. Factor analyses were used to derive the Oxford Cognitions and Defences Questionnaire (O-CDQ).
The O-CDQ consists of three subscales: threat cognitions (14 items), anxious avoidance (11 items), and within-situation safety behaviours (8 items). Separate confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated a good model fit for all subscales. The cognitions subscale was significantly associated with agoraphobic avoidance (r = .672, p < .001), social anxiety (r = .617, p < .001), generalized anxiety (r = .746, p < .001), depression (r = .619, p < .001) and paranoia (r = .655, p < .001). Additionally, both the O-CDQ avoidance (r = .867, p < .001) and within-situation safety behaviours (r = .757, p < .001) subscales were highly correlated with agoraphobic avoidance. The O-CDQ demonstrated excellent internal consistency (cognitions Cronbach’s alpha = .93, avoidance Cronbach’s alpha = .94, within-situation Cronbach’s alpha = .93) and test–re-test reliability (cognitions ICC = 0.88, avoidance ICC = 0.92, within-situation ICC = 0.89).
The O-CDQ, consisting of three separate scales, has excellent psychometric properties and may prove a helpful tool for understanding agoraphobic avoidance across mental health disorders.
Agoraphobic avoidance of everyday situations is a common feature in many mental health disorders. Avoidance can be due to a variety of fears, including concerns about negative social evaluation, panicking, and harm from others. The result is inactivity and isolation. Behavioural avoidance tasks (BATs) provide an objective assessment of avoidance and in situ anxiety but are challenging to administer and lack standardisation. Our aim was to draw on the principles of BATs to develop a self-report measure of agoraphobia symptoms.
The scale was developed with 194 patients with agoraphobia in the context of psychosis, 427 individuals in the general population with high levels of agoraphobia, and 1094 individuals with low levels of agoraphobia. Factor analysis, item response theory, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were used. Validity was assessed against a BAT, actigraphy data, and an existing agoraphobia measure. Test–retest reliability was assessed with 264 participants.
An eight-item questionnaire with avoidance and distress response scales was developed. The avoidance and distress scales each had an excellent model fit and reliably assessed agoraphobic symptoms across the severity spectrum. All items were highly discriminative (avoidance: a = 1.24–5.43; distress: a = 1.60–5.48), indicating that small increases in agoraphobic symptoms led to a high probability of item endorsement. The scale demonstrated good internal reliability, test–retest reliability, and validity.
The Oxford Agoraphobic Avoidance Scale has excellent psychometric properties. Clinical cut-offs and score ranges are provided. This precise assessment tool may help focus attention on the clinically important problem of agoraphobic avoidance.
Healthcare decision makers require accurate long-term economic models to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of new mental health interventions.
To assess the suitability of current patient-level economic models to estimate long-term economic outcomes in severe mental illness.
We undertook pre-specified systematic searches in MEDLINE, Embase and PsycINFO to identify reviews and stand-alone publications of economic models of interventions for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder (PROSPERO: CRD42020158243). We screened paper titles and abstracts to identify unique patient-level economic models. We conducted a structured extraction of identified models, recording the presence of key predefined model features. Model quality and validation were appraised using the 2014 ISPOR and 2016 AdViSHE model checklists.
We identified 15 unique patient-level models for psychosis and major depressive disorder from 1481 non-duplicate records. Models addressed schizophrenia (n = 6), bipolar disorder (n = 2) and major depressive disorder (n = 7). The predominant model type was discrete event simulation (n = 9). Model complexity and incorporation of patient heterogeneity varied considerably, and only five models extrapolated costs and outcomes over a lifetime horizon. Key model parameters were often based on low-quality evidence, and checklist quality assessment revealed weak model verification procedures.
Existing patient-level economic models of interventions for severe mental illness have considerable limitations. New modelling efforts must be supplemented by the generation of good-quality, contemporary evidence suitable for model building. Combined effort across the research community is required to build and validate economic extrapolation models suitable for accurately assessing the long-term value of new interventions from short-term clinical trial data.
When vaccination depends on injection, it is plausible that the blood-injection-injury cluster of fears may contribute to hesitancy. Our primary aim was to estimate in the UK adult population the proportion of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy explained by blood-injection-injury fears.
In total, 15 014 UK adults, quota sampled to match the population for age, gender, ethnicity, income and region, took part (19 January–5 February 2021) in a non-probability online survey. The Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Scale assessed intent to be vaccinated. Two scales (Specific Phobia Scale-blood-injection-injury phobia and Medical Fear Survey–injections and blood subscale) assessed blood-injection-injury fears. Four items from these scales were used to create a factor score specifically for injection fears.
In total, 3927 (26.2%) screened positive for blood-injection-injury phobia. Individuals screening positive (22.0%) were more likely to report COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy compared to individuals screening negative (11.5%), odds ratio = 2.18, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.97–2.40, p < 0.001. The population attributable fraction (PAF) indicated that if blood-injection-injury phobia were absent then this may prevent 11.5% of all instances of vaccine hesitancy, AF = 0.11; 95% CI 0.09–0.14, p < 0.001. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy was associated with higher scores on the Specific Phobia Scale, r = 0.22, p < 0.001, Medical Fear Survey, r = 0.23, p = <0.001 and injection fears, r = 0.25, p < 0.001. Injection fears were higher in youth and in Black and Asian ethnic groups, and explained a small degree of why vaccine hesitancy is higher in these groups.
Across the adult population, blood-injection-injury fears may explain approximately 10% of cases of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Addressing such fears will likely improve the effectiveness of vaccination programmes.
Negative beliefs about the self, including low self-compassion, have been identified as a putative causal factor in the occurrence of paranoia. Therefore, improving self-compassion may be one route to reduce paranoia.
To assess the feasibility, acceptability, and potential clinical effects of a brief compassionate imagery intervention for patients with persecutory delusions.
Twelve patients with persecutory delusions received an individual four-session compassionate imagery intervention. Assessments of self-concept and paranoia were completed before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at 1-month follow-up. A qualitative study exploring participants’ experiences of the treatment was also completed.
Twelve out of 14 eligible patients referred to the study agreed to take part. All participants completed all therapy sessions and assessments. Post-treatment, there were improvements in self-compassion (change score –0.64, 95% CI –1.04, –0.24, d = –1.78), negative beliefs about the self (change score 2.42, 95% CI –0.37, 5.20, d = 0.51), and paranoia (change score 10.08, 95% CI 3.47, 16.69, d = 0.61). There were no serious adverse events. Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: ‘effortful learning’, ‘seeing change’ and ‘taking it forward’. Participants described a process of active and effortful engagement in therapy which was rewarded with positive changes, including feeling calmer, gaining clarity, and developing acceptance.
This uncontrolled feasibility study indicates that a brief compassionate imagery intervention for patients with persecutory delusions is feasible, acceptable, and may lead to clinical benefits.
Cognitive therapies are developed on the principle that specific cognitive appraisals are key determinants in the development and maintenance of mental health disorders. It is likely that particular appraisals of the coronavirus pandemic will have explanatory power for subsequent mental health outcomes in the general public. To enable testing of this hypothesis we developed a questionnaire assessing coronavirus-related cognitions.
12 285 participants completed online a 46-item pool of cognitions about coronavirus and six measures of different mental health problems. The sample was randomly split into derivation and validation samples. Exploratory factor analyses determined the factor structure, selection of items, and model fit in the derivation sample. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) then tested this model in the validation sample. Associations of the questionnaire with mental health outcomes were examined.
The 26-item, seven-factor, Oxford Psychological Investigation of Coronavirus Questionnaire [TOPIC-Q] was developed. CFA demonstrated a good model fit (χ2 = 2108.43, df = 278, p < 0.001, comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.950, Tucker−Lewis index (TLI) = 0.942, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.033, standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) = 0.038). The factors were: cognitions about (1) safety and vulnerability, (2) negative long-term impact, (3) having the virus, (4) spreading the virus, (5) social judgment, (6) negative self, and (7) being targeted. The questionnaire explained significant variance in depression (45.8%), social anxiety (37.3%), agoraphobia (23.2%), paranoia (27.3%), post-traumatic stress disorder (57.1%), and panic disorder (31.4%). Cognitions about negative long-term impact had the greatest explanatory power across disorders.
TOPIC-Q provides a method to assess appraisals of the pandemic, which is likely to prove helpful both in longitudinal studies assessing mental health outcomes and in delivery of psychological therapy.
Our aim was to estimate provisional willingness to receive a coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, identify predictive socio-demographic factors, and, principally, determine potential causes in order to guide information provision.
A non-probability online survey was conducted (24th September−17th October 2020) with 5,114 UK adults, quota sampled to match the population for age, gender, ethnicity, income, and region. The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy scale assessed intent to take an approved vaccine. Structural equation modelling estimated explanatory factor relationships.
71.7% (n=3,667) were willing to be vaccinated, 16.6% (n=849) were very unsure, and 11.7% (n=598) were strongly hesitant. An excellent model fit (RMSEA=0.05/CFI=0.97/TLI=0.97), explaining 86% of variance in hesitancy, was provided by beliefs about the collective importance, efficacy, side-effects, and speed of development of a COVID-19 vaccine. A second model, with reasonable fit (RMSEA=0.03/CFI=0.93/TLI=0.92), explaining 32% of variance, highlighted two higher-order explanatory factors: ‘excessive mistrust’ (r=0.51), including conspiracy beliefs, negative views of doctors, and need for chaos, and ‘positive healthcare experiences’ (r=−0.48), including supportive doctor interactions and good NHS care. Hesitancy was associated with younger age, female gender, lower income, and ethnicity, but socio-demographic information explained little variance (9.8%). Hesitancy was associated with lower adherence to social distancing guidelines.
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is relatively evenly spread across the population. Willingness to take a vaccine is closely bound to recognition of the collective importance. Vaccine public information that highlights prosocial benefits may be especially effective. Factors such as conspiracy beliefs that foster mistrust and erode social cohesion will lower vaccine up-take.
An invisible threat has visibly altered the world. Governments and key institutions have had to implement decisive responses to the danger posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Imposed change will increase the likelihood that alternative explanations take hold. In a proportion of the general population there may be strong scepticism, fear of being misled, and false conspiracy theories. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of conspiracy thinking about the pandemic and test associations with reduced adherence to government guidelines.
A non-probability online survey with 2501 adults in England, quota sampled to match the population for age, gender, income, and region.
Approximately 50% of this population showed little evidence of conspiracy thinking, 25% showed a degree of endorsement, 15% showed a consistent pattern of endorsement, and 10% had very high levels of endorsement. Higher levels of coronavirus conspiracy thinking were associated with less adherence to all government guidelines and less willingness to take diagnostic or antibody tests or to be vaccinated. Such ideas were also associated with paranoia, general vaccination conspiracy beliefs, climate change conspiracy belief, a conspiracy mentality, and distrust in institutions and professions. Holding coronavirus conspiracy beliefs was also associated with being more likely to share opinions.
In England there is appreciable endorsement of conspiracy beliefs about coronavirus. Such ideas do not appear confined to the fringes. The conspiracy beliefs connect to other forms of mistrust and are associated with less compliance with government guidelines and greater unwillingness to take up future tests and treatment.
The Green et al., Paranoid Thoughts Scale (GPTS) – comprising two 16-item scales assessing ideas of reference (Part A) and ideas of persecution (Part B) – was developed over a decade ago. Our aim was to conduct the first large-scale psychometric evaluation.
In total, 10 551 individuals provided GPTS data. Four hundred and twenty-two patients with psychosis and 805 non-clinical individuals completed GPTS Parts A and B. An additional 1743 patients with psychosis and 7581 non-clinical individuals completed GPTS Part B. Factor analysis, item response theory, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were conducted.
The original two-factor structure of the GPTS had an inadequate model fit: Part A did not form a unidimensional scale and multiple items were locally dependant. A Revised-GPTS (R-GPTS) was formed, comprising eight-item ideas of reference and 10-item ideas of persecution subscales, which had an excellent model fit. All items in the new Reference (a = 2.09–3.67) and Persecution (a = 2.37–4.38) scales were strongly discriminative of shifts in paranoia and had high reliability across the spectrum of severity (a > 0.90). The R-GPTS score ranges are: average (Reference: 0–9; Persecution: 0–4); elevated (Reference: 10–15; Persecution: 5–10); moderately severe (Reference: 16–20; Persecution:11–17); severe (Reference: 21–24; Persecution: 18–27); and very severe (Reference: 25+; Persecution: 28+). Recommended cut-offs on the persecution scale are 11 to discriminate clinical levels of persecutory ideation and 18 for a likely persecutory delusion.
The psychometric evaluation indicated a need to improve the GPTS. The R-GPTS is a more precise measure, has excellent psychometric properties, and is recommended for future studies of paranoia.
There are high rates of obesity and low self-esteem in patients with psychosis. The occurrence of negative voice content directly about appearance is therefore plausible. Derogatory comments about appearance are likely to be distressing, increase depression and contribute to social withdrawal.
To systematically assess the occurrence of voice content regarding appearance and identify correlates.
Sixty patients experiencing verbal auditory hallucinations at least once a week in the context of non-affective psychosis completed a measure assessing positive and negative voice content about appearance. They also completed assessments about body image, self-esteem, psychiatric symptoms and well-being.
Fifty-five (91.7%) participants reported hearing voices comment on their appearance. A total of 54 (90%) patients reported negative voice content about their appearance with 30 (50%) patients experienced negative appearance comments on a daily basis. The most common negative comment was ‘the voices tell me that I am ugly’ (n = 48, 80%). There were 39 (65%) patients who reported positive voice content on appearance. The most frequent positive comment was ‘I look as nice as other people’ (n = 26, 43.3%). Negative voice content about appearance was associated with body image concerns, paranoia, voice hearing severity, depression, worry, negative self-beliefs and safety-seeking behaviours. Positive appearance voice content was associated with greater body esteem and well-being and lower levels of depression and insomnia.
Voice content about appearance is very common for patients seen in clinical services. Negative voice content may reflect – and subsequently reinforce – negative beliefs about one's appearance, low self-esteem, worry and paranoia.
The period before the formation of a persecutory delusion may provide causal insights. Patient accounts are invaluable in informing this understanding.
To inform the understanding of delusion formation, we asked patients about the occurrence of potential causal factors – identified from a cognitive model – before delusion onset.
A total of 100 patients with persecutory delusions completed a checklist about their subjective experiences in the weeks before belief onset. The checklist included items concerning worry, images, low self-esteem, poor sleep, mood dysregulation, dissociation, manic-type symptoms, aberrant salience, hallucinations, substance use and stressors. Time to reach certainty in the delusion was also assessed.
Most commonly it took patients several months to reach delusion certainty (n = 30), although other patients took a few weeks (n = 24), years (n = 21), knew instantly (n = 17) or took a few days (n = 6). The most frequent experiences occurring before delusion onset were: low self-confidence (n = 84); excessive worry (n = 80); not feeling like normal self (n = 77); difficulties concentrating (n = 77); going over problems again and again (n = 75); being very negative about the self (n = 75); images of bad things happening (n = 75); and sleep problems (n = 75). The average number of experiences occurring was high (mean 23.5, s.d. = 8.7). The experiences clustered into six main types, with patients reporting an average of 5.4 (s.d. = 1.0) different types.
Patients report numerous different experiences in the period before full persecutory delusion onset that could be contributory causal factors, consistent with a complex multifactorial view of delusion occurrence. This study, however, relied on retrospective self-report and could not determine causality.
Sleep problems are pervasive in people with schizophrenia, but there are no clinical guidelines for their treatment. The Better Sleep Trial (BEST) concluded that suitably adapted cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is likely to be highly effective, although its cost-effectiveness is unknown.
To assess the potential cost-effectiveness of CBT for sleep disorders in patients with schizophrenia.
An economic evaluation of the BEST study with a 6-month time horizon was used to establish the cost-effectiveness of CBT plus usual care in terms of costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Uncertainty was displayed on cost-effectiveness planes and acceptability curves. Value of information analysis was performed to estimate the benefits of obtaining further evidence.
On average, the treatment led to a 0.035 QALY gain (95% CI −0.016 to 0.084), and £1524 (95% CI −10 529 to 4736) and £1227 (95% CI −10 395 to 5361) lower costs from National Health Service and societal perspectives, respectively. The estimated value of collecting more information about the effects of the CBT on costs and QALYs was approximately £87 million.
CBT for insomnia in people with schizophrenia is effective and potentially cost-effective. A larger trial is needed to provide clear evidence about its cost-effectiveness.
Patients with schizophrenia have multiple complex health needs, as well as very high rates of depression, suicidal ideation and poor physical health. The results of this study showed that treating pervasive sleep problems in this patient group with cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is very likely to improve patient quality of life in the short term. Clinicians most commonly use hypnotic medication to treat sleeping disorders. This study indicates that CBT may be an effective and cost-effective intervention in this patient group. This alternative would also be aligned with patient preferences for psychological and behavioural-type therapy.
Background: Almost all patients admitted at acute crisis to a psychiatric ward experience clinically significant symptoms of insomnia. Ward environments pose challenges to both sleep and the delivery of therapy. Despite this, there is no description of how to adapt cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia to overcome these challenges. Aims: (i) To describe the key insomnia presentations observed in the Oxford Ward Sleep Solution (OWLS) trial and (ii) outline key adaptations aimed to increase accessibility and hence effectiveness of CBT for insomnia for a ward setting. Methods: Trial therapists collaboratively agreed the key insomnia presentations and therapy adaptations based on their individual reflective logs used during the trial. Results: Three key insomnia presentations are outlined. These are used to illustrate the application of 10 CBT for insomnia therapy adaptations. These include use of sleep monitoring watches to engage patients in treatment, stabilizing circadian rhythms, reducing the impact of night-time observations and managing discharge as a sleep challenge. Conclusions: Whilst inpatient wards bring challenges for sleep and therapy delivery, creative adaptations can increase the accessibility of evidence based CBT for insomnia techniques. This therapy has proven popular with patients.
Background: Our view is that sleep disturbance may be a contributory causal factor in the development and maintenance of psychotic experiences. A recent series of randomized controlled intervention studies has shown that cognitive-behavioural approaches can improve sleep in people with psychotic experiences. However, the effects of psychological intervention for improving sleep have not been evaluated in young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis. Improving sleep might prevent later transition to a mental health disorder. Aims: To assess the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention targeting sleep disturbance in young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis. Method: Patients were sought from NHS mental health services. Twelve young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis with sleep problems were offered an eight-session adapted CBT intervention for sleep problems. The core treatment techniques were stimulus control, circadian realignment, and regulating day-time activity. Participants were assessed before and after treatment and at a one month follow-up. Results: All eligible patients referred to the study agreed to take part. Eleven patients completed the intervention, and one patient withdrew after two sessions. Of those who completed treatment, the attendance rate was 89% and an average of 7.6 sessions (SD = 0.5) were attended. There were large effect size improvements in sleep. Post-treatment, six patients fell below the recommended cut-off for clinical insomnia. There were also improvements in negative affect and psychotic experiences. Conclusion: This uncontrolled feasibility study indicates that treating sleep problems in young people at ultra-high of psychosis is feasible, acceptable, and may be associated with clinical benefits.
Persecutory delusions may be unfounded threat beliefs maintained by
safety-seeking behaviours that prevent disconfirmatory evidence being
successfully processed. Use of virtual reality could facilitate new
To test the hypothesis that enabling patients to test the threat
predictions of persecutory delusions in virtual reality social
environments with the dropping of safety-seeking behaviours (virtual
reality cognitive therapy) would lead to greater delusion reduction than
exposure alone (virtual reality exposure).
Conviction in delusions and distress in a real-world situation were
assessed in 30 patients with persecutory delusions. Patients were then
randomised to virtual reality cognitive therapy or virtual reality
exposure, both with 30 min in graded virtual reality social environments.
Delusion conviction and real-world distress were then reassessed.
In comparison with exposure, virtual reality cognitive therapy led to
large reductions in delusional conviction (reduction 22.0%,
P = 0.024, Cohen's d = 1.3) and
real-world distress (reduction 19.6%, P = 0.020, Cohen's
d = 0.8).
Cognitive therapy using virtual reality could prove highly effective in