Lim, Michelle H.;
Penn, David L.;
Gleeson, John F. M.
Strengths-based interventions, an alternative to traditional cognitive-behavioural treatment, has been found to improve well-being and reduce mental health symptom severity in people diagnosed with psychosis. These strengths-based interventions however do not typically measure loneliness, which is defined as a subjective feeling of social isolation. We examined the feasibility and acceptability of Positive Connect, a six-week strengths-based group intervention, designed to target loneliness in individuals diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. The aim of Positive Connect was to reduce loneliness via increasing prosocial behaviours, meaningful engagement with others and social confidence.
Materials and methods: Sixteen participants diagnosed with a psychotic disorder (M = 22.89, SD = 3.61) were recruited. Participants attended a two-hour group therapy session weekly for six weeks with two group facilitators. Loneliness was assessed at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and three-month post-intervention. Acceptability and feasibility ratings were measured at post-intervention.
Results: Feasibility as assessed by participant attendance was 5.38 (SD = .70) out of 6 sessions, and the group dropout rate was 10%. Acceptability ratings as assessed by participant ratings across different variables (e.g., enjoyment) were positive. A significant difference in loneliness was found between pre-intervention and post-intervention (p < .001, d = 1.09). There was no significant difference between post-intervention and three-month post-intervention (p = .81, d = .01).
Discussion: A strengths-based intervention targeting loneliness has been shown to be highly acceptable and feasible for young people with psychosis. The group program yielded significant reductions in loneliness at post-treatment and maintained improvements at the three month follow up. Loneliness as a potential key treatment target should be considered in future social interventions.
World Psychiatric Association Thematic Congress (WPA18), 'Innovation in Psychiatry: Effective Interventions for Health and Society', Melbourne, Australia, 25-28 February 2018
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