Enhancing social functioning in young people at Ultra High Risk (UHR) for psychosis: A pilot study of a novel strengths and mindfulness-based online social therapy

M. Alvarez-Jimenez, J. F. Gleeson, S. Bendall, D. L. Penn, A. R. Yung, R. M. Ryan, D. Eleftheriadis, S. D'Alfonso, S. Rice, C. Miles, P. Russon, R. Lederman, R. Chambers, C. Gonzalez-Blanch, M. H. Lim, E. Killackey, P. D. McGorry, B. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Psychological and pharmacological treatments have been shown to reduce rates of transition to psychosis in Ultra High Risk (UHR) young people. However, social functioning deficits have been unresponsive to current treatments. Aims: The study aims were to: i) describe the theoretical basis and therapeutic targets of a novel intervention targeting social functioning in UHR young people; and ii) examine its acceptability, safety and preliminary effect on social functioning. Methods: An international, multidisciplinary team developed a new intervention (MOMENTUM) to improve social functioning in UHR young people. MOMENTUM blends two novel approaches to social recovery: strengths and mindfulness-based intervention embedded within a social media environment, and application of the self-determination theory of motivation. The acceptability and safety of MOMENTUM were tested through a 2-month pilot study with 14 UHR participants. Results: System usage was high, with over 70% of users being actively engaged over the trial. All participants reported a positive experience using MOMENTUM, considered it safe and would recommend it to others. 93% reported it to be helpful. There were large, reliable improvements in social functioning (d = 1.83, p < 0.001) and subjective wellbeing (d = 0.75, p = 0.03) at follow-up. There were significant increases in the mechanisms targeted by the intervention including strengths usage (d = 0.70, p = 0.03), mindfulness skills (d = 0.66, p = 0.04) and components of social support. Social functioning improvement was significantly correlated with indicators of system usage. Conclusion: MOMENTUM is engaging and safe. MOMENTUM appeared to engage the hypothesized mechanisms and showed promise as a new avenue to improve social functioning in UHR young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume202
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • At risk mental state
  • Functional recovery
  • Internet
  • Online

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