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Many individuals with first-episode psychosis experience severe and persistent social disability despite receiving specialist early intervention. The SUPEREDEN3 trial assessed whether augmenting early intervention in psychosis services with Social Recovery Therapy (SRT) would lead to better social recovery.
A qualitative process evaluation was conducted to explore implementation and mechanisms of SRT impact from the perspective of SUPEREDEN3 participants.
A subsample of SUPEREDEN3 trial participants (n = 19) took part in semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Trial participants were early intervention service users aged 16–35 years with severe and persistent social disability. Both SRT plus early intervention and early intervention alone arm participants were interviewed to facilitate better understanding of the context in which SRT was delivered and to aid identification of mechanisms specific to SRT.
The six themes identified were used to generate an explanatory model of SRT’s enhancement of social recovery. Participant experiences highlight the importance of the therapist cultivating increased self-understanding and assertively encouraging clients to face feared situations in a way that is perceived as supportive, while managing ongoing symptoms. The sense of achievement generated by reaching targets linked to personally meaningful goals promotes increased self-agency, and generates hope and optimism.
The findings suggest potentially important processes through which social recovery was enhanced in this trial, which will be valuable in ensuring the benefits observed can be replicated. Participant accounts provide hope that, with the right support, even clients who have persistent symptoms and the most severe disability can make a good social recovery.
It is essential to conduct randomised controlled trials of psychological interventions on acute psychiatric wards to build a robust evidence base for clinical practice.
This paper aims to share strategies from three different in-patient trials that successfully recruited and retained participants, to disseminate good practice for the conduct of future trials in this challenging and complex clinical setting.
We present strategies from three in-patient trials of psychological interventions: TULIPS (Talk, Understand, Listen for Inpatient Settings), amBITION (Brief Talking Therapies on Wards) and INSITE (Inpatient Suicide Intervention and Therapy Evaluation). All studies recruited participants from acute in-patient wards, initiated therapy within the in-patient setting and followed up on participants post-discharge.
We summarise our recommendations for good practice in the form of ten top tips for success, based on our collective experience of conducting trials on psychiatric wards. Key themes relate to the importance of relationships between the research team and clinical staff; good stakeholder involvement and getting early buy-in from the team; and adapting to the particular demands of the clinical setting.
Sharing good practice recommendations can help reduce research waste arising from poor recruitment and/or retention in future in-patient clinical trials.
Psychological therapy is core component of mental healthcare. However, many people with severe mental illnesses do not receive therapy, particularly in acute mental health settings.
This study identifies barriers to delivering and accessing psychological therapies in acute mental health settings, and is the first to recommend how services can increase access from the perspectives of different stakeholders (staff, patients and carers).
Sixty participants with experiences of acute mental health wards (26 staff, 22 patients and 12 carers) were interviewed about barriers to accessing therapy in in-patient settings and how therapies should be delivered to maximise access.
Four themes were identified: (a) ‘Models of care’, including the function of in-patient wards, beliefs about the causes of mental health problems and the importance of strong leadership to support psychosocial interventions; (b) ‘Integrated care’, including the importance of psychologists being ward-based, as well as having strong links with community teams; (c) ‘Acute levels of distress’, including factors that aggravate or ameliorate the impact of this on engagement in therapy; and (d) ‘Enhancing staff capability and motivation’, which is influenced by contextual issues.
It is possible to improve access to therapy through strong leadership (that is supportive of talking treatments), flexible delivery of therapy (that considers short admissions) and a whole-systems approach that promotes ward staff understanding of the psychosocial causes of mental illness and staff well-being. It is essential to ensure continuity between in-patient and community therapy services, and for wards to have physical space to carry out therapy.
Cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is recommended for all patients with psychosis, but is offered to only a minority. This is attributable, in part, to the resource-intensive nature of CBT for psychosis. Responses have included the development of CBT for psychosis in brief and targeted formats, and its delivery by briefly trained therapists. This study explored a combination of these responses by investigating a brief, CBT-informed intervention targeted at distressing voices (the GiVE intervention) administered by a briefly trained workforce of assistant psychologists.
To explore the feasibility of conducting a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the GiVE intervention when delivered by assistant psychologists to patients with psychosis.
This was a three-arm, feasibility, randomised controlled trial comparing the GiVE intervention, a supportive counselling intervention and treatment as usual, recruiting across two sites, with 1:1:1 allocation and blind post-treatment and follow-up assessments.
Feasibility outcomes were favourable with regard to the recruitment and retention of participants and the adherence of assistant psychologists to therapy and supervision protocols. For the candidate primary outcomes, estimated effects were in favour of GiVE compared with supportive counselling and treatment as usual at post-treatment. At follow-up, estimated effects were in favour of supportive counselling compared with GiVE and treatment as usual, and GiVE compared with treatment as usual.
A definitive trial of the GiVE intervention, delivered by assistant psychologists, is feasible. Adaptations to the GiVE intervention and the design of any future trials may be necessary.
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, there has been guidance concerning adaptations that physical healthcare services can implement to aid containment, but there is relatively little guidance for how mental healthcare services should adapt service provision to better support staff and patients, and minimise contagion spread.
This systematic review explores service adaptations in mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic and other contagions.
The Allied and Complementary Medicine database (AMED), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), EMBASE, Medline, PsycINFO and Web of Science were systematically searched for published studies from database inception to April 2020. Data were extracted focusing on changes to mental health services during contagion outbreaks. Data were analysed with thematic analysis.
Nineteen papers were included: six correspondence/point-of-view papers, five research papers, five reflection papers, two healthcare guideline documents and one government document. Analysis highlighted four main areas for mental health services to consider during contagion outbreaks: infection control measures to minimise contagion spread, including procedural and practical solutions across different mental health settings; service delivery, including service changes, operational planning and continuity of care; staff well-being (psychological and practical support); and information and communication.
Mental health services need to consider infection control measures and implement service changes to support continuity of care, and patient and staff well-being. Services also need to ensure they are communicating important information in a clear and accessible manner with their staff and patients, regarding service delivery, contagion symptoms, government guidelines and well-being.
This review collates the published reports that focus on microbial and viral illnesses that can be transmitted by breast milk, donor milk and powdered infant formula (PIF). In this context, we attempt to define a risk framework encompassing those hazards, exposure scenarios, vulnerability and protective factors.
A literature search was performed for reported cases of morbidity and mortality associated with different infant feeding modes.
Exclusive breast-feeding is the recommended for infant feeding under 6 months, or failing that, provision of donated human milk. However, the use of PIF remains high despite its intrinsic and extrinsic risk of microbial contamination, as well as the potential for adverse physiological effects, including infant gut dysbiosis.
Viable pathogen transmission via breast-feeding or donor milk (pasteurised and unpasteurised) is rare. However, transmission of HIV and human T-cell lymphotropic virus-1 is a concern for breast-feeding mothers, particularly for mothers undertaking a mixed feeding mode (PIF and breast-feeding). In PIF, intrinsic and extrinsic microbial contamination, such as Cronobacter and Salmonella, remain significant identifiable causes of infant morbidity and mortality.
Disease transmission through breast-feeding or donor human milk is rare, most likely owing to its complex intrinsically protective composition of human milk and protection of the infant gut lining. Contamination of PIF and the morbidity associated with this is likely underappreciated in terms of community risk. A better system of safe donor milk sharing that also establishes security of supply for non-hospitalised healthy infants in need of breast milk would reduce the reliance on PIF.
Alcohol misuse is common in bipolar disorder and is associated with worse outcomes. A recent study evaluated integrated motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy for bipolar disorder and alcohol misuse with promising results in terms of the feasibility of delivering the therapy and the acceptability to participants.
Here we present the experiences of the therapists and supervisors from the trial to identify the key challenges in working with this client group and how these might be overcome.
Four therapists and two supervisors participated in a focus group. Topic guides for the group were informed by a summary of challenges and obstacles that each therapist had completed at the end of therapy for each individual client. The audio recording of the focus group was transcribed and data were analysed using thematic analysis.
We identified five themes: addressing alcohol use versus other problems; impact of bipolar disorder on therapy; importance of avoidance and overcoming it; fine balance in relation to shame and normalising use; and ‘talking the talk’ versus ‘walking the walk’.
Findings suggest that clients may be willing to explore motivations for using alcohol even if they are not ready to change their drinking, and they may want help with a range of mental health problems. Emotional and behavioural avoidance may be a key factor in maintaining alcohol use in this client group and therapists should be aware of a possible discrepancy between clients’ intentions to reduce misuse and their actual behaviour.
The number of people growing older with severe mental illness (SMI) is rising, reflecting societal trends towards an ageing population. Evidence suggests that older people are less likely to seek help, be referred for and receive psychological therapy compared with younger people, but past research has focused on those with mild to moderate mental health needs.
This research aims to identify the specific barriers faced by older people with SMI.
We interviewed 53 participants (22 service users with SMI aged over 50 years, 11 carers of people with SMI, and 20 health care professionals) about their views and experiences of accessing therapy for SMI in later life.
Thematic analysis revealed five themes: organizational and resource issues; myths about therapy and attitudinal barriers; stigma; encouraging access to therapy; and meeting age-specific needs.
Barriers faced by older people with SMI are not only age-related, but also reflect specific issues associated with having a SMI over many years. Improving awareness of the benefits of psychological therapies is important not only for older people with SMI themselves, but also for their carers and staff who work with them.
Although the science of team science is no longer a new field, the measurement of team science and its standardization remain in relatively early stages of development. To describe the current state of team science assessment, we conducted an integrative review of measures of research collaboration quality and outcomes.
Collaboration measures were identified using both a literature review based on specific keywords and an environmental scan. Raters abstracted details about the measures using a standard tool. Measures related to collaborations with clinical care, education, and program delivery were excluded from this review.
We identified 44 measures of research collaboration quality, which included 35 measures with reliability and some form of statistical validity reported. Most scales focused on group dynamics. We identified 89 measures of research collaboration outcomes; 16 had reliability and 15 had a validity statistic. Outcome measures often only included simple counts of products; publications rarely defined how counts were delimited, obtained, or assessed for reliability. Most measures were tested in only one venue.
Although models of collaboration have been developed, in general, strong, reliable, and valid measurements of such collaborations have not been conducted or accepted into practice. This limitation makes it difficult to compare the characteristics and impacts of research teams across studies or to identify the most important areas for intervention. To advance the science of team science, we provide recommendations regarding the development and psychometric testing of measures of collaboration quality and outcomes that can be replicated and broadly applied across studies.
The SUPEREDEN3 study, a phase II randomized controlled trial, suggests that social recovery therapy (SRT) is useful in improving functional outcomes in people with first episode psychosis. SRT incorporates cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques with case management and employment support, and therefore has a different emphasis to traditional CBT for psychosis, requiring a new adherence tool.
This paper describes the SRT adherence checklist and content of the therapy delivered in the SUPEREDEN3 trial, outlining the frequency of SRT techniques and proportion of participants who received a full therapy dose. It was hypothesized that behavioural techniques would be used frequently, consistent with the behavioural emphasis of SRT.
Research therapists completed an adherence checklist after each therapy session, endorsing elements of SRT present. Data from 1236 therapy sessions were reviewed to determine whether participants received full, partial or no therapy dose.
Of the 75 participants randomized to receive SRT, 57.3% received a full dose, 24% a partial dose, and 18.7% received no dose. Behavioural techniques were endorsed in 50.5% of sessions, with cognitive techniques endorsed in 34.9% of sessions.
This report describes an adherence checklist which should be used when delivering SRT in both research and clinical practice. As hypothesized, behavioural techniques were a prominent feature of the SRT delivered in SUPEREDEN3, consistent with the behavioural emphasis of the approach. The use of this adherence tool would be considered essential for anyone delivering SRT looking to ensure adherence to the model.
Affective attitudes and behaviours manifested within the family environment have been characterised as expressed emotion (EE). High EE environments have been robustly shown to put psychosis patients at a greater risk of relapse compared with low EE exposure. Positive EE dimensions (warmth; positive remarks) have received far less attention than negative EE dimensions such that EE has become synonymous with a negative family atmosphere; the predictive value of positive EE dimensions is largely ignored. A systematic review examining the relationship between positive family EE and outcomes in psychosis is needed.
A systematic search was conducted. Studies reporting bias and study quality were assessed.
A total of 2368 studies were identified. Of these, 27 met eligibility criteria reporting outcomes including relapse, symptomatology, social functioning and life satisfaction. Relapse was the most commonly measured outcome. Stronger evidence emerged for the association between EE warmth and outcomes compared with EE positive remarks, with effects mostly evident in the early phase of psychosis. Evidence for protective effects of warmth on relapse was found up to 9 months follow-up. No effects were evident between positive remarks and relapse. Studies assessing symptom outcomes showed inconsistent findings. Evidence for an association with social functioning was evident, primarily in at risk mental states. Warmth and positive remarks predicted life satisfaction.
The positive aspects of EE require further investigation with longitudinal research designs. Clinical interventions should focus not only on reducing negative aspects of EE but also foster warmth within families in the context of psychosis.
This paper describes three case examples from a recent trial of family intervention specifically designed for people of African-Caribbean descent. These examples, told from the therapists’ perspectives, highlight key components of the intervention and issues that arose in working with this client group. Findings from the study suggest that it is possible to engage this client-group in family therapy similar to traditional evidenced-based family interventions, although as illustrated in the paper, it is important that therapists pay attention to themes that are likely to be particularly pertinent for this group, including experiences of discrimination and mistrust of services. The use of Family Support Members, consisting of members of the person's care team or volunteers recruited from the community, may also help support people to engage in therapy in the absence of biological relatives.
Background: Guilt is commonly associated with distress and psychopathology. However, there is a lack of validated measures that assess how people cope with this aversive emotional and cognitive experience. Aims: We therefore developed and validated a self-report measure that assesses how people manage their guilt: the Guilt Management Scale (GMS). Method: The GMS was administered to a non-clinical (n = 339) and clinical (n = 67) sample, alongside other validated measures of guilt severity, coping, thought control and psychological distress. Results from a principal component analysis (PCA) and assessments of test–retest reliability and internal consistency are presented. Results: The PCA yielded a six subscale solution (Self-Punishment, Reparation, People-Focused, Spirituality, Avoidance and Metacognition), accounting for 56.14% of variance. Test–retest reliability and internal consistency was found to be good–excellent for the majority of subscales. Across samples, Self-Punishment was related to higher levels of guilt and distress whilst Metacognition and Reparation were related to less guilt and distress in the non-clinical sample only. Conclusions: This paper provides preliminary evidence for the psychometric properties of the GMS in a non-clinical sample. With development and validation in clinical samples, the GMS could be used to inform psychological formulations of guilt and assess therapy outcomes.
The mental and physical health of individuals with a psychotic illness are typically poor. Access to psychosocial interventions is important but currently limited. Telephone-delivered interventions may assist. In the current systematic review, we aim to summarise and critically analyse evidence for telephone-delivered psychosocial interventions targeting key health priorities in adults with a psychotic disorder, including (i) relapse, (ii) adherence to psychiatric medication and/or (iii) modifiable cardiovascular disease risk behaviours.
Ten peer-reviewed and four grey literature databases were searched for English-language studies examining psychosocial telephone-delivered interventions targeting relapse, medication adherence and/or health behaviours in adults with a psychotic disorder. Study heterogeneity precluded meta-analyses.
Twenty trials [13 randomised controlled trials (RCTs)] were included, involving 2473 participants (relapse prevention = 867; medication adherence = 1273; and health behaviour = 333). Five of eight RCTs targeting relapse prevention and one of three targeting medication adherence reported at least 50% of outcomes in favour of the telephone-delivered intervention. The two health-behaviour RCTs found comparable levels of improvement across treatment conditions.
Although most interventions combined telephone and face-to-face delivery, there was evidence to support the benefit of entirely telephone-delivered interventions. Telephone interventions represent a potentially feasible and effective option for improving key health priorities among people with psychotic disorders. Further methodologically rigorous evaluations are warranted.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate intakes and serum levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, and related compounds in a cohort of maternal–infant pairs in the Midwestern USA in relation to measures of health disparities. Concentrations of carotenoids and tocopherols in maternal serum were measured using HPLC and measures of socio-economic status, including food security and food desert residence, were obtained in 180 mothers upon admission to a Midwestern Academic Medical Center labour and delivery unit. The Kruskal–Wallis and independent-samples t tests were used to compare measures between groups; logistic regression models were used to adjust for relevant confounders. P < 0·05 was considered statistically significant. The odds of vitamin A insufficiency/deficiency were 2·17 times higher for non-whites when compared with whites (95 % CI 1·16, 4·05; P = 0·01) after adjustment for relevant confounders. Similarly, the odds of being vitamin E deficient were 3·52 times higher for non-whites (95 % CI 1·51, 8·10; P = 0·003). Those with public health insurance had lower serum lutein concentrations compared with those with private health insurance (P = 0·05), and living in a food desert was associated with lower serum concentrations of β-carotene (P = 0·02), after adjustment for confounders. Subjects with low/marginal food security had higher serum levels of lutein and β-cryptoxanthin compared with those with high food security (P = 0·004 and 0·02 for lutein and β-cryptoxanthin). Diet quality may be a public health concern in economically disadvantaged populations of industrialised societies leading to nutritional disadvantages as well.
Background: Childhood adversity, dissociation and adult attachment have all been implicated in the development of hallucinations or ‘voice-hearing’. Testing psychological models in relation to subclinical phenomena, such as proneness to hallucinations in non-clinical samples, provides a convenient methodology to develop understanding of the processes and mechanisms underlying clinical symptoms. Aims: This paper investigates the relative contribution of childhood adversity, dissociation and adult attachment in explaining hallucination proneness in a non-clinical sample. Methods: Students and staff with no previous contact with secondary care at the University of Manchester were recruited. Participants completed a series of self-report measures: the Launay‒Slade Hallucination Scale (LSHS), the Relationship Scale Questionnaire (RSQ), the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), the Dissociative Experiences Schedule (DES II) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Results: As hypothesized, insecure attachment, childhood adversity and dissociative symptoms were correlated with hallucination proneness. Multiple regression analysis, controlling for confounds of age and negative affect, indicated that the RSQ, CTQ and DES II predicted hallucination proneness. Only DES II and RSQ avoidant attachment were significant independent predictors in the final model. Conclusions: This study provides further evidence to support the idea that attachment and dissociation are important psychological mechanisms involved in voice-hearing proneness. Further testing is required with a clinical population.
Attachment theory may develop understanding of the occurrence and maintenance of persecutory delusions. This study investigates the role of dispositional attachment and contextually primed secure base attachment representations in the occurrence of paranoid thinking. Sixty participants were randomly allocated to one of three conditions: a secure attachment priming condition, a positive affect condition, or a neutral control condition. Following priming, all participants were exposed to a paranoia induction. State paranoia was measured at baseline and following the paranoia induction. Dispositional insecure attachment was associated with both trait and state paranoid thinking. Contrary to predictions, the secure attachment prime did not appear to buffer paranoid thinking and had a negative impact for participants with high levels of attachment anxiety, highlighting the potentially aversive effects of exposure to secure attachment material in those with existing insecure attachment styles.
The common edible fig is a subcanopy tree that has invaded many of the remnant riparian forests of California's Central Valley. Fig is unusual in its ability to invade low-light, low-disturbance, native-plant–dominated environments. Dendrochronology combined with regression and spatial analyses allowed us to empirically quantify the expansion rate and spatial pattern of the fig invasion into the native plant community at Caswell Memorial State Park (Ripon, CA) over a 70-year invasion period. Fig uses a combination of short-distance dispersal, which results in constant, linear expansion at source population sites and long-distance dispersal, which eventually leads to high recruitment of satellite populations in ideal environments. Although fig initially experienced a long lag in its invasion rate, at the time of this study, it was expanding at an exponential rate at the landscape scale in Caswell. We identified a number of characteristics intrinsic to the fig population (shade suppression, pollinator presence, highly specialized reproduction, and propagule pressure) as well as extrinsic characteristics of the receiving environment (hydrologic alteration from the construction of a dam, safe sites for juvenile recruitment, and target effects from environmental heterogeneity) that may have influenced the rate and pattern of fig invasion. The Central Valley riparian forests have been reduced to less than 6% of their original area, and invasive fig is a significant threat to the remaining fragments of this important vegetation community. We include suggestions for fig eradication based on knowledge gained in this study.
Basal bark treatments involve the application of concentrated herbicide solution on each individual stem of targeted plants. When applied to stands of invasive plants with high stem densities, basal bark treatments may result in the use of large quantities of herbicide in a given area. The effect of basal bark treatments using a solution of 25% triclopyr herbicide and 75% methylated seed oil was tested on research plots located in six different groves of invasive fig, a densely stemmed, problematic invader of riparian forests in California. The experimental treatments resulted in application rates that were equivalent to 28 to 44 kg ae/ha, greatly in excess of the labeled maximum use rate of 9 kg ae/ha (8 lb/ac). At 175 d after application, soils near the fig trunks contained high levels of triclopyr residues (up to 6.6 ppmw), suggesting that the chemical made its way into soils during this period and was not completely degraded. Although the mortality of native plants transplanted into treated fig groves was low (up to 16%), it was significantly greater than the mortality experienced by native plants transplanted into untreated control sites (0%). Although effective in controlling invasive fig trees (> 99% mortality), the high herbicide application rates from basal bark treatment preclude the use of this treatment in large fig groves. These treatments may be appropriate, however, when fig groves are small or isolated enough to prevent overapplication on a per-area basis. In addition, neither limited basal bark applications of triclopyr (< 40% of stems treated) nor foliar spray treatments of 2% glyphosate were effective control measures. Further investigation is needed on ways to control large invasive fig groves.
Ways of coping with stressful situations can be categorized as problem-focused, emotion-focused, and dysfunctional. Methods of controlling intrusive thoughts, which are frequently associated with psychological distress, have also been classified into different subgroups. This study assesses associations between methods of coping and thought control, and how these relate to distress. Sixty-eight participants were recruited from outpatient psychology services and completed measures of distress, coping, and thought control. Problem-focused coping strategies and both distraction and social thought-control strategies were associated with each other and with lower distress. Conversely, dysfunctional coping strategies and both worry and punishment thought-control strategies were associated with each other and with higher distress. Future research and the clinical implications are discussed.