Evaluation of a mentored self -help intervention for the management of psychotic symptoms

Willa Jeanne Casstevens, Florida International University


Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be promising for the treatment of individuals experiencing psychotic symptoms, who are often diagnosed with schizophrenia. Using a non-random non-equivalent comparison group design (n = 26), this study explores whether an individually mentored self-help and self-paced intervention based upon cognitive behavioral approaches to auditory hallucinations or "hearing voices" makes a significant positive difference for individuals with major mental disorder diagnoses and psychotic symptoms who are residing in the community and receiving community mental health services. The mentored self-help intervention uses a workbook (Coleman & Smith, 1997) that stemmed from the British psychiatric survivor and "voice hearers"' movements and from cognitive behavioral approaches to treating psychotic symptoms. Thirty individuals entered the study. Pre- and post-intervention assessments of 15 participants in the intervention group and 11 participants in the comparison group were carried out using standardized instruments, including the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, and the Hoosier Assurance Plan Inventory - Adult. Four specific research questions address whether levels of self-esteem, overall psychotic symptoms, depression-anxiety, and disruption in life improved in the intervention group, relative to the comparison group. Pre- and post-assessment scores were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance. Results showed no significant difference on any measure, with the exception of the Brief Psychiatric Rating subscale for Anxious Depression, which showed a statistically significant pre-post difference with a strong effect size. A conservative interpretation of this single positive result is that it is due to chance. An alternative interpretation is that the mentored self-help intervention made an actual improvement in the level of depression-anxiety experienced by participants. If so, this is particularly important given high levels of depression and suicide among individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. This alternative interpretation supports further research on the intervention utilized in this study.

Subject Area

Social work|Psychotherapy|Mental health

Recommended Citation

Casstevens, Willa Jeanne, "Evaluation of a mentored self -help intervention for the management of psychotic symptoms" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3217562.