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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.
When patients are admitted onto psychiatric wards, sleep problems are highly prevalent. We carried out the first trial testing a psychological sleep treatment at acute admission (Oxford Ward sLeep Solution, OWLS).
This assessor-blind parallel-group pilot trial randomised patients to receive sleep treatment at acute crisis [STAC, plus standard care (SC)], or SC alone (1 : 1). STAC included cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia, sleep monitoring and light/dark exposure for circadian entrainment, delivered over 2 weeks. Assessments took place at 0, 2, 4 and 12 weeks. Feasibility outcomes assessed recruitment, retention of participants and uptake of the therapy. Primary efficacy outcomes were the Insomnia Severity Index and Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale at week 2. Analyses were intention-to-treat, estimating treatment effect with 95% confidence intervals.
Between October 2015 and July 2016, 40 participants were recruited (from 43 assessed eligible). All participants offered STAC completed treatment (mean sessions received = 8.6, s.d. = 1.5). All participants completed the primary end point. Compared with SC, STAC led to large effect size (ES) reductions in insomnia at week 2 (adjusted mean difference −4.6, 95% CI −7.7 to −1.4, ES −0.9), a small improvement in psychological wellbeing (adjusted mean difference 3.7, 95% CI −2.8 to 10.1, ES 0.3) and patients were discharged 8.5 days earlier. One patient in the STAC group had an adverse event, unrelated to participation.
In this challenging environment for research, the trial was feasible. Therapy uptake was high. STAC may be a highly effective treatment for sleep disturbance on wards with potential wider benefits on wellbeing and admission length.
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