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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for antipsychotic-free schizophrenia spectrum disorders: Does therapy dose influence outcome?

Lookup NU author(s): Helen Spencer, Professor Douglas Turkington, Dr Rob DudleyORCiD


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© 2018 Elsevier B.V. This study investigated the effect of “dose” and the components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) on treatment effects. It is a secondary analysis of the ACTION (Assessment of Cognitive Therapy Instead of Neuroleptics) trial which investigated CBT for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders that chose not to take antipsychotic medication. Using instrumental variable methods, we found a “dose-response” such that each CBT session attended, reduced the primary outcome measure (the PANSS total score) by approximately 0.6 points (95% CI −1.20 to −0.06, p = 0.031). This suggests that length of therapy is important for those that receive CBT in the absence of antipsychotic medication. Secondly, using principal stratification we examined the process variables that modified treatment effects. Findings revealed that those who received a longitudinal formulation in the first 4 sessions of CBT had poorer treatment effects than those who did not, however this finding was not statistically significant (95% CI −37.244, 6.677, p = 0.173). However, it is important to note that these findings were evident in an exploratory analysis with a small sample. Future larger scale studies are needed to help understand components of effective treatment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Spencer HM, McMenamin M, Emsley R, Turkington D, Dunn G, Morrison AP, Brabban A, Hutton P, Dudley R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Schizophrenia Research

Year: 2018

Volume: 202

Pages: 385-386

Print publication date: 01/12/2018

Online publication date: 12/07/2018

Acceptance date: 03/07/2018

ISSN (print): 0920-9964

ISSN (electronic): 1573-2509

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.07.016


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