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Positive emotions program for schizophrenia: a randomized clinical trial

Type of publication Not peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Review article (non peer-reviewed)
Author Favrod, Jérôme; Nguyen, Alexandra; Golay, Philippe; Bonsack, Charles
Project Positive Emotions Program for Schizophrenia (PEPS): a randomized controlled study on improving pleasure and motivation in schizophrenia
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Review article (non peer-reviewed)

Journal Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci
Page(s) S38 - S38
Title of proceedings Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci
DOI 10.1007/s00406-017-0824-8

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Objective: Just as the psychosocial treatment of positive symptoms has improved by focusing more closely on delusion or hallucination, perhaps the psychosocial treatment of negative symptoms should also address specific targets. Anhedonia and apathy are good candidatesfor the development of a more specific psychosocial approach. The Positive Emotion Program for Schizophrenia (PEPS) targets the emotional and cognitive skills specifically needed to increase pleasure and desire to engage in activities. A pilot study with PEPS demonstrated the intervention’s feasibility and preliminary results indicated that participation in PEPS was accompanied by a significant reduction of anhedonia, apathy, and depression in a group of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders. The proposed randomized controlled study will compare the efficacy of PEPS vs treatment as usual. The study will also monitor the sustainability of PEPS’ potential benefits at a six-month follow-up. Methods: Eighty participants diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder will undergo one or the other intervention for eight weeks. The study’s main hypothesis is that patients who have attended 8 one-hour sessions of PEPS will have lower total apathyavolition and anhedonia-asociality scores on the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms, in comparison to the control group. The necessary sample size was estimated using the results of the pilot study. Results: Hundred and eleven participants have been assessed for eligibility, twenty-one have been excluded (9 declined to participate,12 did not meet inclusion criteria, 3 had poor French, 7 were assessed as not able to consent). Eighty participants have been actually randomized. Post-test results will be available in June 2017. Conclusion: Increasing the ability of individuals with schizophrenia to experience pleasure may have an impact on key elements of their recovery process, such as hope and motivation. The short duration of the training needed for professionals, and brief intervention itself, make PEPS quite easy to implement in a variety of environments. Policy of full disclosure: The authors have no financial or other conflict of interest.