COVID-19 and Mental Health (CMH) Initiative: Research

Examining the Efficacy of Evidence-Based Psychosocial Interventions for Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders Delivered Through Virtual Care

Key Messages

  • Very little research has been conducted to evaluate evidence-based interventions for schizophrenia delivered through virtual care
  • Cognitive remediation, cognitive behavioural therapy, and family psychoeducation are the only interventions with sufficient studies examining their efficacy for virtual delivery.
  • Cognitive remediation and cognitive behavioural therapies demonstrate preliminary efficacy for delivery through virtual care

Lay Summary

Only cognitive remediation, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and family psychoeducation have more than two studies examining their efficacy through virtual care. Virtual delivery of cognitive remediation produced moderate effects on neurocognition and functioning. Virtual delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy produced moderate effects on symptoms and small effects on functioning. There were insufficient studies of family psychoeducation with equivalent outcome measures to assess quantitatively, however, studies of virtually delivered family psychoeducation suggested that it is feasible, acceptable, and potentially effective. Of the other examined interventions, assertive community treatment, cognitive adaptation training, social skills training, and supported employment had no studies examining their effectiveness when delivered remotely.

Delivery through mobile applications was the most common virtual delivery method and few studies examined other forms of treatment such as telehealth or video conferencing. Few studies compared in person delivery to virtual delivery of the same intervention, but the studies that did examine this did not find a significant difference between in-person delivery and virtual delivery. This is likely to be dependent on the specific treatment and approach to treatment that is employed and needs to be studied more extensively.

Keywords

  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychosis
  • Virtual care
  • Psychosocial
  • Treatment

Author(s)

  • Nominated Principal Applicant: Michael W. Best, University of Toronto
  • Michael Grossman, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Christopher Bowie, Queen’s University
  • Linbo Wang, University of Toronto
  • Andrew Cooper, University of Toronto
  • Simone Arbour, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
  • Tim Pauley, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences

For more information, please contact: Michael W. Best, m.best@utoronto.ca

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