Recent Submissions

  • Social anxiety is more likely to influence reputation management decisions than autistic traits.

    Dubey, Indu; Groom, Madeleine J.; Tahir, Ameena (2023)
    People manage their social reputation by selectively sharing achievements, thereby shaping the way others think about them. Autistic traits and social anxiety may have opposing impacts on reputation management. This study aimed to identify the influence of autistic traits and social anxiety on reputation management behavior, independently and in co-occurrence with one another. Seventy-seven adults with varying levels of autistic and social anxiety traits completed a novel self-disclosure task that required them to complete a computerized game and decide whether to disclose their scores to another participant. This design provided a safe social environment for sharing performance outcomes and allowed us to manipulate performance outcomes for participants and set a perceived 'norm' of high self-disclosure. Results showed that participants were more likely to disclose their high than low scores to the other player. Social anxiety reliably predicted the likelihood of disclosing their scores while high autistic traits predicted the likelihood of disclosure only in combination with high social anxiety. Additionally, establishing the norm of high disclosure facilitated self-disclosure in all the participants. This study shows that social anxiety may influence reputation management via selective self-disclosure more when co-occurring with high autistic traits. People with varying levels of autistic traits may not behave differently to maintain a social reputation.
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies exploring prevalence of non-specific anxiety in undergraduate university students

    Glazebrook, Cris; Davies, E. Bethan (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Anxiety is a common mental health problem in the general population, and is associated with functional impairment and negative impacts upon quality of life. There has been increased concern about university students' mental health in recent years, with a wide range of non-specific anxiety rates reported worldwide in undergraduate university students. We aimed to explore prevalence of non-specific anxiety in undergraduate university student populations. METHODS: Four databases were searched to identify studies published between 1980 and 2020 which investigated prevalence of non-specific anxiety in undergraduate university students. Each study's quality was appraised using a checklist. Sub-analyses were undertaken reflecting outcome measure utilized, course of study, location of study, and whether study was before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: A total of 89 studies - representing approx. 130,090 students-met inclusion criteria. Eighty-three were included in meta-analysis, calculating a weighted mean prevalence of 39.65% (95% CI: 35.72%-43.58%) for non-specific anxiety. Prevalence from diagnostic interview studies ranged from 0.3%-20.8% 12-month prevalence. Prevalence varied by outcome measure used to assess non-specific anxiety, the type of course studied by sample, and by study location. In half the studies, being female was associated with being more likely to have higher non-specific anxiety scores and/or screening above thresholds. Few of the included studies met all quality appraisal criteria. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that approximately a third of undergraduate students are experiencing elevated levels of non-specific anxiety. Results from sub-analyses have identified some methodological issues that need consideration in appraising prevalence in this population.
  • STAndardised DIagnostic Assessment for children and young people with emotional difficulties (STADIA): protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial

    Ewart, Colleen; Thomson, Louise; Bradley, Ellen; Newman, Kristina L.; Sayal, Kapil (2022)
    Introduction Emotional disorders (such as anxiety and depression) are associated with considerable distress and impairment in day-to-day function for affected children and young people and for their families. Effective evidence-based interventions are available but require appropriate identification of difficulties to enable timely access to services. Standardised diagnostic assessment (SDA) tools may aid in the detection of emotional disorders, but there is limited evidence on the utility of SDA tools in routine care and equipoise among professionals about their clinical value.Methods and analysis A multicentre, two-arm, parallel group randomised controlled trial, with embedded qualitative and health economic components. Participants will be randomised in a 1:1 ratio to either the Development and Well-Being Assessment SDA tool as an adjunct to usual clinical care, or usual care only. A total of 1210 participants (children and young people referred to outpatient, specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services with emotional difficulties and their parent/carers) will be recruited from at least 6 sites in England. The primary outcome is a clinician-made diagnosis about the presence of an emotional disorder within 12 months of randomisation. Secondary outcomes include referral acceptance, diagnosis and treatment of emotional disorders, symptoms of emotional difficulties and comorbid disorders and associated functional impairment.Ethics and dissemination The study received favourable opinion from the South Birmingham Research Ethics Committee (Ref. 19/WM/0133). Results of this trial will be reported to the funder and published in full in the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Journal series and also submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal.Trial registration number ISRCTN15748675; Pre-results.
  • Resting-state functional connectivity correlates of anxiety co-morbidity in major depressive disorder

    Briley, Paul M.; Webster, Lucy; Boutry, Clement; Liddle, Peter F.; Morriss, Richard K. (2022)
    Major depressive disorder (MDD) is frequently co-morbid with anxiety disorders. The co-morbid state has poorer functional outcomes and greater resistance to first line treatments, highlighting the need for novel treatment targets. This systematic review examined differences in resting-state brain connectivity associated with anxiety comorbidity in young- and middle-aged adults with MDD, with the aim of identifying novel targets for neuromodulation treatments, as these treatments are thought to work partly by altering dysfunctional connectivity pathways. Twenty-one studies met inclusion criteria, including a total of 1292 people with MDD. Only two studies included people with MDD and formally diagnosed co-morbid anxiety disorders; the remainder included people with MDD with dimensional anxiety measurement. The quality of most studies was judged as fair. Results were heterogeneous, partly due to a focus on a small set of connectivity relationships within individual studies. There was evidence for dysconnectivity between the amygdala and other brain networks in co-morbid anxiety, and an indication that abnormalities of default mode network connectivity may play an underappreciated role in this condition.
  • Psychological treatments for depression and anxiety in dementia and mild cognitive impairment

    Orrell, Martin (2022)
    BACKGROUNDExperiencing anxiety and depression is very common in people living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). There is uncertainty about the best treatment approach. Drug treatments may be ineffective and associated with adverse effects. Guidelines recommend psychological treatments. In this updated systematic review, we investigated the effectiveness of different psychological treatment approaches.OBJECTIVESPrimary objective To assess the clinical effectiveness of psychological interventions in reducing depression and anxiety in people with dementia or MCI. Secondary objectives To determine whether psychological interventions improve individuals' quality of life, cognition, activities of daily living (ADL), and reduce behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, and whether they improve caregiver quality of life or reduce caregiver burden.SEARCH METHODSWe searched ALOIS, the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group's register, MEDLINE, Embase, four other databases, and three trials registers on 18 February 2021.SELECTION CRITERIAWe included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared a psychological intervention for depression or anxiety with treatment as usual (TAU) or another control intervention in people with dementia or MCI.DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSISA minimum of two authors worked independently to select trials, extract data, and assess studies for risk of bias. We classified the included psychological interventions as cognitive behavioural therapies (cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), behavioural activation (BA), problem-solving therapy (PST)); 'third-wave' therapies (such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)); supportive and counselling therapies; and interpersonal therapies. We compared each class of intervention with control. We expressed treatment effects as standardised mean differences or risk ratios. Where possible, we pooled data using a fixed-effects model. We used GRADE methods to assess the certainty of the evidence behind each result.MAIN RESULTSWe included 29 studies with 2599 participants. They were all published between 1997 and 2020. There were 15 trials of cognitive behavioural therapies (4 CBT, 8 BA, 3 PST), 11 trials of supportive and counselling therapies, three trials of MBCT, and one of interpersonal therapy. The comparison groups received either usual care, attention-control education, or enhanced usual care incorporating an active control condition that was not a specific psychological treatment. There were 24 trials of people with a diagnosis of dementia, and five trials of people with MCI. Most studies were conducted in community settings. We considered none of the studies to be at low risk of bias in all domains.  Cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT, BA, PST) Cognitive behavioural therapies are probably slightly better than treatment as usual or active control conditions for reducing depressive symptoms (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.23, 95% CI -0.37 to -0.10; 13 trials, 893 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). They may also increase rates of depression remission at the end of treatment (risk ratio (RR) 1.84, 95% CI 1.18 to 2.88; 2 studies, with one study contributing 2 independent comparisons, 146 participants; low-certainty evidence). We were very uncertain about the effect of cognitive behavioural therapies on anxiety at the end of treatment (SMD -0.03, 95% CI -0.36 to 0.30; 3 trials, 143 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Cognitive behavioural therapies probably improve patient quality of life (SMD 0.31, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.50; 7 trials, 459 participants; moderate-certainty evidence) and activities of daily living at end of treatment compared to treatment as usual or active control (SMD -0.25, 95% CI -0.40 to -0.09; 7 trials, 680 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). Supportive and counselling interventions Meta-analysis showed that supportive and counselling interventions may have little or no effect on depressive symptoms in people with dementia compared to usual care at end of treatment (SMD - .05, 95% CI -0.18 to 0.07; 9 trials, 994 participants; low-certainty evidence). We were very uncertain about the effects of these treatments on anxiety, which was assessed only in one small pilot study. Other interventions There were very few data and very low-certainty evidence on MBCT and interpersonal therapy, so we were unable to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of these interventions.AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONSCBT-based treatments added to usual care probably slightly reduce symptoms of depression for people with dementia and MCI and may increase rates of remission of depression. There may be important effect modifiers (degree of baseline depression, cognitive diagnosis, or content of the intervention). CBT-based treatments probably also have a small positive effect on quality of life and activities of daily living. Supportive and counselling interventions may not improve symptoms of depression in people with dementia. Effects of both types of treatment on anxiety symptoms are very uncertain. We are also uncertain about the effects of other types of psychological treatments, and about persistence of effects over time. To inform clinical guidelines, future studies should assess detailed components of these interventions and their implementation in different patient populations and in different settings.
  • Feasibility, acceptability and costs of nurse-led Alpha-Stim cranial electrostimulation to treat anxiety and depression in university students

    Morriss, Richard K. (2022)
    BACKGROUND: Only a relatively low proportion of university students seek help for anxiety and depression disorders, partly because they dislike current drug and psychological treatment options and would prefer home-based care. The aim of this study is to determine the feasibility, acceptability and cost utility of Alpha-Stim cranial electrostimulation (CES) delivered through a nurse led primary care clinic as a daily treatment for anxiety and depression symptoms by the student at home in contrast to usual primary care. METHOD: Feasibility and acceptability of a nurse led clinic offering Alpha-Stim CES in terms of the take up and completion of the six-week course of Alpha-Stim CES. Change in score on the GAD-7 and PHQ-9 as measures of anxiety and depression symptoms at baseline and at 8 weeks following a course of Alpha-Stim CES. Similar evaluation in a non-randomised control group attending a family doctor over the same period. Cost-utility analysis of the nurse led Alpha-Stim CES and family doctor pathways with participants failing to improve following further NICE Guideline clinical care (facilitated self-help and cognitive behaviour therapy). RESULTS: Of 47 students (mean age 22.1, years, 79% female opting for Alpha-Stim CES at the nurse-led clinic 46 (97.9%) completed a 6-week daily course. Forty-seven (47) students comprised a comparison group receiving usual family doctor care. Both Alpha-Stim CES and usual family doctor care were associated with large effect size reductions in GAD-7 and PHQ-9 scores from baseline to 8 weeks. There were no adverse effects and only one participant showed a clinically important deterioration in the Alpha-Stim group. In the cost utility analysis, Alpha-Stim CES was a cheaper option than usual family doctor care under all deterministic or probabilistic assumptions. CONCLUSION: Nurse delivered Alpha-Stim CES may be a feasible, acceptable and cheaper way of providing greater choice and home-based care for some university students seeking help from primary care with new presentations of anxiety and depression.
  • Remotely delivered interventions to support women with symptoms of anxiety in pregnancy: Mixed methods systematic review and meta-analysis

    Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan (2022)
    BACKGROUNDSymptoms of anxiety are common in pregnancy, with severe symptoms associated with negative outcomes for women and babies. Low-level psychological therapy is recommended for women with mild to moderate anxiety, with the aim of preventing an escalation of symptoms and providing coping strategies. Remotely delivered interventions have been suggested to improve access to treatment and support and provide a cost-effective, flexible, and timely solution.OBJECTIVEThis study identifies and evaluates remotely delivered, digital, or web-based interventions to support women with symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy.METHODSThis mixed methods systematic review followed a convergent segregated approach to synthesize qualitative and quantitative data. The ACM Digital Library, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Embase, Health Technology Assessment Library, IEEE Xplore, Joanna Briggs Institute, Maternity and Infant Care, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and the Social Science Citation Index were searched in October 2020. Quantitative or qualitative primary research that included pregnant women and evaluated remotely delivered interventions reporting measures of anxiety, fear, stress, distress, women's views, and opinions were included.RESULTSOverall, 3 qualitative studies and 14 quantitative studies were included. Populations included a general antenatal population and pregnant women having anxiety and depression, fear of childbirth, insomnia, and preterm labor. Interventions included cognitive behavioral therapy, problem solving, mindfulness, and educational designs. Most interventions were delivered via web-based platforms, and 62% (8/13) included direct contact from trained therapists or coaches. A meta-analysis of the quantitative data found internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy and facilitated interventions showed a beneficial effect in relation to the reduction of anxiety scores (standardized mean difference -0.49, 95% CI -0.75 to -0.22; standardized mean difference -0.48, 95% CI -0.75 to -0.22). Due to limitations in the amount of available data and study quality, the findings should be interpreted with caution. Synthesized findings found some evidence to suggest that interventions are more effective when women maintain regular participation which may be enhanced by providing regular contact with therapists or peer support, appropriate targeting of interventions involving components of relaxation and cognitive-based skills, and providing sufficient sessions to develop new skills without being too time consuming.CONCLUSIONSThere is limited evidence to suggest that women who are pregnant may benefit from remotely delivered interventions. Components of interventions that may improve the effectiveness and acceptability of remotely delivered interventions included providing web-based contact with a therapist, health care professional, or peer community. Women may be more motivated to complete interventions that are perceived as relevant or tailored to their needs. Remote interventions may also provide women with greater anonymity to help them feel more confident in disclosing their symptoms.
  • Understanding agoraphobic avoidance: the development of the Oxford Cognitions and Defences Questionnaire (O-CDQ)

    Prouten, Eloise; Jones, Julia; O'Regan, Eileen (2022)
    BACKGROUNDMany patients with mental health disorders become increasingly isolated at home due to anxiety about going outside. A cognitive perspective on this difficulty is that threat cognitions lead to the safety-seeking behavioural response of agoraphobic avoidance.AIMSWe sought to develop a brief questionnaire, suitable for research and clinical practice, to assess a wide range of cognitions likely to lead to agoraphobic avoidance. We also included two additional subscales assessing two types of safety-seeking defensive responses: anxious avoidance and within-situation safety behaviours.METHOD198 patients with psychosis and agoraphobic avoidance and 1947 non-clinical individuals completed the item pool and measures of agoraphobic avoidance, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, depression and paranoia. Factor analyses were used to derive the Oxford Cognitions and Defences Questionnaire (O-CDQ).RESULTSThe O-CDQ consists of three subscales: threat cognitions (14 items), anxious avoidance (11 items), and within-situation safety behaviours (8 items). Separate confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated a good model fit for all subscales. The cognitions subscale was significantly associated with agoraphobic avoidance (r = .672, p < .001), social anxiety (r = .617, p < .001), generalized anxiety (r = .746, p < .001), depression (r = .619, p < .001) and paranoia (r = .655, p < .001). Additionally, both the O-CDQ avoidance (r = .867, p < .001) and within-situation safety behaviours (r = .757, p < .001) subscales were highly correlated with agoraphobic avoidance. The O-CDQ demonstrated excellent internal consistency (cognitions Cronbach's alpha = .93, avoidance Cronbach's alpha = .94, within-situation Cronbach's alpha = .93) and test-re-test reliability (cognitions ICC = 0.88, avoidance ICC = 0.92, within-situation ICC = 0.89).CONCLUSIONSThe O-CDQ, consisting of three separate scales, has excellent psychometric properties and may prove a helpful tool for understanding agoraphobic avoidance across mental health disorders.
  • Are dental-related psychological variables important for dental attendance in China? A cross-sectional study

    Topcu, Gogem (2021)
    OBJECTIVEDental services are expanding in China, yet there is little evidence available on the dental-related psychological factors contributing to the uptake of dental services. Our study explored whether beliefs, anxiety, and cognitions significantly differ across different levels of attendance, and whether dental-related psychological variables can independently predict dental attendance in Chinese adults. We also explored the extent to which cognitions and beliefs relate to attendance as a function of dental anxiety.METHODIn our cross-sectional study 480 adult participants in China completed a questionnaire including dental attendance and measures of dental-related psychological variables (dental cognitions, beliefs, anxiety, and fear of dental pain).RESULTSOnly 25.8% of participants visited the dentist regularly. There was a significant difference for all dental-related psychological variables (p < 0.001), across all three levels of dental attendance (never; irregularly or regularly attend). Thus, fear of dental pain and dental anxiety are higher, and cognitions and beliefs are more negative, for those who have less favorable dental service utilization. All these variables, except fear of dental pain, were also independent predictors of dental attendance (p < 0.05). Moreover, how individuals think, and what they believe, about the dentist (and the dental context) were only partially explained through dental anxiety. Thus, beliefs (β = 0.579, SE = 0.035, p < 0.001) and cognitions (β = 0.594, SE = 0.045, p < 0.001) are impacting on dental attendance, mostly independent of whether the individual is anxious.CONCLUSIONOur preliminary findings show dental-related psychological factors are related to dental attendance and these should be explored further in a larger sample.
  • The predictive value of patient, therapist, and in-session ratings of motivational factors early in remote cognitive behavioural therapy for severe health anxiety

    Malins, Samuel; Morriss, Richard K.; Schroder, Thomas; Brown, Paula; Boycott, Naomi (2021)
    Objectives Remote psychotherapy and the prevalence of Severe Health Anxiety (SHA) are both growing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remotely delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (rCBT) for SHA is evidenced as effective, but many who seek help do not benefit. Motivational processes can influence outcomes, but it is unclear what assessment methods offer the best clinical utility in rCBT for SHA. Design This study compared the predictive validity of patient, therapist and in-session ratings of motivational factors taken at session two of rCBT for SHA among high healthcare users experiencing multimorbidity. Methods Motivational factors were assessed for 56 participants who attended at least two sessions of CBT for SHA delivered via video-conferencing or telephone. Following session two, therapists and patients completed online assessments of patient motivation. Two trained observers also rated motivational factors and therapeutic alliance from in-session interactions using session two recordings and transcripts. Multilevel modelling was used to predict health anxiety and a range of secondary health outcomes from motivation assessments. Results Where patients were more actively engaged in discussion of positive changes during session two, greater outcome improvements ensued in health anxiety and all secondary outcomes. Conversely, larger proportions of session two spent describing problems predicted poorer outcomes. Therapist and patient assessments of motivation did not predict health anxiety, but therapist assessments of client confidence and motivation predicted all secondary outcomes. Conclusions Motivation remains an important process in CBT when delivered remotely, and motivational factors may predict outcomes more consistently from in-session interactions, compared to self-reports.
  • Screening male prisoners for depression and anxiety with the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 at NHS HealthchecK: patterns of symptoms and caseness threshold

    Packham, Chris; Williams, Marie; Kaul, Adarsh; Morriss, Richard K. (2021)
    BACKGROUNDScreening for depression and anxiety disorders has been proposed in prison populations but little is known about caseness thresholds on commonly used self-report measures in relation to core symptoms, risk factors and symptom patterns.METHODA cross-sectional prevalence survey measured depression and anxiety caseness (threshold scores > 10 and > 15 on PHQ-9 and GAD-7 and diagnostic algorithm on PHQ-9) in 1205 male prisoners aged 35-74 years eligible for an NHS Healthcheck from six English prisons. Caseness scores were compared with the presence or absence of daily core symptoms of depression and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), demographic, prison and cardiovascular risk factors. Cluster analysis was applied to PHQ-9 and GAD-7 items in prisoners scoring > 10 on PHQ-9.RESULTS453(37.6%) and 249(20.7%) prisoners scored > 10 and > 15 respectively on PHQ-9; 216 (17.9%) had a depressive episode on the PHQ-9 algorithm; 378(31.4%) and 217(18.0%) scored > 10 and > 15 on GAD-7 respectively. Daily core items for depression were scored in 232(56.2%) and 139(74.3%) prisoners reaching > 10 and > 15 respectively on PHQ-9; daily core anxiety items in 282(74.9%) and 179(96.3%) reaching > 10 and > 15 on GAD-7. Young age, prison and previous high alcohol intake were associated with > 15 on the PHQ-9. Cluster analysis showed a cluster with core symptoms of depression, slowness, restlessness, suicidality, poor concentration, irritability or fear. Altered appetite, poor sleep, lack of energy, guilt or worthlessness belonged to other clusters and may not be indicative of depression.CONCLUSIONSIn male prisoners > 35 years, a score of > 10 on the PHQ-9 over diagnoses depressive episodes but a score of > 10 on the GAD-7 may detect cases of GAD more efficiently. Further research utilising standardised psychiatric interviews is required to determine whether the diagnostic algorithm, a higher cut-off on the PHQ-9 or the profile of symptoms on the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 used singly or in combination may be used to screen depressive episodes efficiently in prisoners.
  • The Oxford Agoraphobic Avoidance Scale

    Jones, Julia; O'Regan, Eileen (2021)
    Background Agoraphobic avoidance of everyday situations is a common feature in many mental health disorders. Avoidance can be due to a variety of fears, including concerns about negative social evaluation, panicking, and harm from others. The result is inactivity and isolation. Behavioural avoidance tasks (BATs) provide an objective assessment of avoidance and in situ anxiety but are challenging to administer and lack standardisation. Our aim was to draw on the principles of BATs to develop a self-report measure of agoraphobia symptoms. Method The scale was developed with 194 patients with agoraphobia in the context of psychosis, 427 individuals in the general population with high levels of agoraphobia, and 1094 individuals with low levels of agoraphobia. Factor analysis, item response theory, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were used. Validity was assessed against a BAT, actigraphy data, and an existing agoraphobia measure. Test–retest reliability was assessed with 264 participants. Results An eight-item questionnaire with avoidance and distress response scales was developed. The avoidance and distress scales each had an excellent model fit and reliably assessed agoraphobic symptoms across the severity spectrum. All items were highly discriminative (avoidance: a = 1.24–5.43; distress: a = 1.60–5.48), indicating that small increases in agoraphobic symptoms led to a high probability of item endorsement. The scale demonstrated good internal reliability, test–retest reliability, and validity. Conclusions The Oxford Agoraphobic Avoidance Scale has excellent psychometric properties. Clinical cut-offs and score ranges are provided. This precise assessment tool may help focus attention on the clinically important problem of agoraphobic avoidance.
  • A case management occupational health model to facilitate earlier return to work of NHS staff with common mental health disorders: a feasibility study

    Griffiths, Amanda (2021)
    Background: The NHS is the biggest employer in the UK. Depression and anxiety are common reasons for sickness absence among staff. Evidence suggests that an intervention based on a case management model using a biopsychosocial approach could be cost-effective and lead to earlier return to work for staff with common mental health disorders. Objective: The objective was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of conducting a trial of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an early occupational health referral and case management intervention to facilitate the return to work of NHS staff on sick leave with any common mental health disorder (e.g. depression or anxiety). Design: A multicentre mixed-methods feasibility study with embedded process evaluation and economic analyses. The study comprised an updated systematic review, survey of care as usual, and development of an intervention in consultation with key stakeholders. Although this was not a randomised controlled trial, the study design comprised two arms where participants received either the intervention or care as usual. Participants: Participants were NHS staff on sick leave for 7 or more consecutive days but less than 90 consecutive days, with a common mental health disorder. Intervention: The intervention involved early referral to occupational health combined with standardised work-focused case management. Control/comparator: Participants in the control arm received care as usual. Primary outcome: The primary outcome was the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, study processes (including methods of recruiting participants) and data collection tools to measure return to work, episodes of sickness absence, workability (a worker’s functional ability to perform their job), occupational functioning, symptomatology and cost-effectiveness proposed for use in a main trial. Results: Forty articles and two guidelines were included in an updated systematic review. A total of 49 of the 126 (39%) occupational health providers who were approached participated in a national survey of care as usual. Selected multidisciplinary stakeholders contributed to the development of the work-focused case management intervention (including a training workshop). Six NHS trusts (occupational health departments) agreed to take part in the study, although one trust withdrew prior to participant recruitment, citing staff shortages. At mixed intervention sites, participants were sequentially allocated to each arm, where possible. Approximately 1938 (3.9%) NHS staff from the participating sites were on sick leave with a common mental health disorder during the study period. Forty-two sick-listed NHS staff were screened for eligibility on receipt of occupational health management referrals. Twenty-four (57%) participants were consented: 11 (46%) received the case management intervention and 13 (54%) received care as usual. Follow-up data were collected from 11 out of 24 (46%) participants at 3 months and 10 out of 24 (42%) participants at 6 months. The case management intervention and case manager training were found to be acceptable and inexpensive to deliver. Possible contamination issues are likely in a future trial if participants are individually randomised at mixed intervention sites. Harms: No adverse events were reported. Limitations: The method of identification and recruitment of eligible sick-listed staff was ineffective in practice because uptake of referral to occupational health was low, but a new targeted method has been devised. Conclusion: All study questions were addressed. Difficulties raising organisational awareness of the study coupled with a lack of change in occupational health referral practices by line managers affected the identification and recruitment of participants. Strategies to overcome these barriers in a main trial were identified. The case management intervention was fit for purpose and acceptable to deliver in the NHS.
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy for a variety of conditions: an overview of systematic reviews and panoramic meta-analysis

    das Nair, Roshan (2021)
    Background: Cognitive-behavioural therapy aims to increase quality of life by changing cognitive and behavioural factors that maintain problematic symptoms. A previous overview of cognitive-behavioural therapy systematic reviews suggested that cognitive-behavioural therapy was effective for many conditions. However, few of the included reviews synthesised randomised controlled trials. Objectives: This project was undertaken to map the quality and gaps in the cognitive-behavioural therapy systematic review of randomised controlled trial evidence base. Panoramic meta-analyses were also conducted to identify any across-condition general effects of cognitive-behavioural therapy. Data sources: The overview was designed with cognitive-behavioural therapy patients, clinicians and researchers. The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Child Development & Adolescent Studies, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects and OpenGrey databases were searched from 1992 to January 2019. Review methods: Study inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) fulfil the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination criteria; (2) intervention reported as cognitive-behavioural therapy or including one cognitive and one behavioural element; (3) include a synthesis of cognitive-behavioural therapy trials; (4) include either health-related quality of life, depression, anxiety or pain outcome; and (5) available in English. Review quality was assessed with A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews (AMSTAR)-2. Reviews were quality assessed and data were extracted in duplicate by two independent researchers, and then mapped according to condition, population, context and quality. The effects from high-quality reviews were pooled within condition groups, using a random-effect panoramic meta-analysis. If the across-condition heterogeneity was I-2 < 75%, we pooled across conditions. Subgroup analyses were conducted for age, delivery format, comparator type and length of follow-up, and a sensitivity analysis was performed for quality. Results: A total of 494 reviews were mapped, representing 68% (27/40) of the categories of the International Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision, Mortality and Morbidity Statistics. Most reviews (71%, 351/494) were of lower quality. Research on older adults, using cognitive-behavioural therapy preventatively, ethnic minorities and people living outside Europe, North America or Australasia was limited. Out of 494 reviews, 71 were included in the primary panoramic meta-analyses. A modest effect was found in favour of cognitive-behavioural therapy for health-related quality of life (standardised mean difference 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.05 to 0.41, prediction interval -0.05 to 0.50, I-2 = 32%), anxiety (standardised mean difference 0.30, 95% confidence interval 0.18 to 0.43, prediction interval -0.28 to 0.88, I-2 = 62%) and pain (standardised mean difference 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.05 to 0.41, prediction interval -0.28 to 0.74, I-2 = 64%) outcomes. All condition, subgroup and sensitivity effect estimates remained consistent with the general effect. A statistically significant interaction effect was evident between the active and non-active comparator groups for the health-related quality-of-life outcome. A general effect for depression outcomes was not produced as a result of considerable heterogeneity across reviews and conditions. Limitations: Data extraction and analysis were conducted at the review level, rather than returning to the individual trial data. This meant that the risk of bias of the individual trials could not be accounted for, but only the quality of the systematic reviews that synthesised them. Conclusion: Owing to the consistency and homogeneity of the highest-quality evidence, it is proposed that cognitive-behavioural therapy can produce a modest general, across-condition benefit in health-related quality-of-life, anxiety and pain outcomes. Future work: Future research should focus on how the modest effect sizes seen with cognitive-behavioural therapy can be increased, for example identifying alternative delivery formats to increase adherence and reduce dropout, and pursuing novel methods to assess intervention fidelity and quality. Study registration: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42017078690.
  • A direct-to-public peer support program (Big White Wall) versus web-based information to aid the self-management of depression and anxiety: Results and challenges of an automated randomized controlled trial

    Morriss, Richard K.; Kaylor-Hughes, Catherine; Rawsthorne, Mat; Simpson, Sandra; Guo, Boliang; James, Marilyn; Williams, Laura (2021)
    Background: Effective help for depression and anxiety reaches a small proportion of people who might benefit from it. The scale of the problem suggests the need for effective, safe web-based public health services delivered directly to the public. One model, the Big White Wall (BWW), offers peer support at low cost. As these interventions are delivered digitally, we tested whether a randomized controlled trial (RCT) intervention could also be fully delivered and evaluated digitally. Objective: This study aims to determine the reach, feasibility, acceptability, baseline costs, and outcomes of a public health campaign for an automated RCT of the BWW, providing digital peer support and information, compared with a standard website used by the National Health Service Moodzone (MZ), to people with probable mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety disorder. The primary outcome was the change in self-rated well-being at 6 weeks, measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale. Methods: An 18-month campaign was conducted across Nottinghamshire, the United Kingdom (target population 914,000) to advertise the trial directly to the public through general marketing, web-based and social media sources, health services, other public services, and third-sector groups. The population reach of this campaign was examined by the number of people accessing the study website and self-registering to the study. A pragmatic, parallel-group, single-blind RCT was then conducted using a fully automated trial website in which eligible participants were randomized to receive either 6 months of access to BWW or signposted to MZ. Those eligible for participation were aged >16 years with probable mild-to-moderate depression or anxiety disorders. Results: Of 6483 visitors to the study website, 1510 (23.29%) were eligible. Overall, 790 of 1510 (52.32%) visitors participated. Of 790 visitors, 397 (50.3%) were randomized to BWW and 393 (49.7%) to MZ. Their mean age was 38 (SD 13.8) years, 81.0% (640/790) were female, 93.4% (738/790) were White, and 47.4% (271/572) had no contact with health services in the previous 3 months. We estimated 3-month productivity losses of £1001.01 (95% CI 868.75-1133.27; US $1380.79; 95% CI 1198.35-1563.23) per person for those employed. Only 16.6% (131/790) participants completed the primary outcome assessment. There were no differences in the primary or secondary outcomes between the 2 groups. Conclusions: Most participants reached and those eligible for this trial of digital interventions were White women not in recent contact with health services and whose productivity losses represent a significant annual societal burden. A fully automated RCT recruiting directly from the public failed to recruit and retain sufficient participants to test the clinical effectiveness of this digital intervention, primarily because it did not personally engage participants and explain how these unfamiliar interventions might benefit them.
  • Predicting outcomes and sudden gains from initial in-session interactions during remote cognitive behavioral thearpy for severe health anxiety

    Malins, Samuel; Morriss, Richard K.; Schroder, Thomas; Brown, Paula; Boycott, Naomi (2020)
    There has been a dramatic increase in remote psychotherapy since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. There is also expected to be an increase in mental health problems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. An increase in severe health anxiety (SHA) is particularly anticipated, for which Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a frontline treatment. However, it is unclear what interaction-types are associated with outcome-improvement in remote-CBT (rCBT) for SHA. This study aimed to identify interaction-types that predict outcomes and sudden gains in rCBT for SHA using initial therapy session content. Forty-eight participants in rCBT for SHA had interactions at their first sessions categorized and rated in terms of patient activation: An individual's confidence and ability to manage their health. Multilevel modelling assessed whether early interaction-types predicted session-by-session wellbeing. For participants experiencing sudden gains (n = 12) interactions at the session directly prior to the gain were similarly categorised and rated. The scores were then compared to ratings for the preceding session. A smaller proportion of early sessions was taken up with problem descriptions amongst those with greater outcome-improvements. There was also a significant reduction in the proportion of the session spent describing problems in the session directly prior to a sudden gain, as compared to the previous session. Conversely, clients with better outcomes made more positive evaluations of themselves and therapy, noticed more positive changes, and made more contributions to structuring interactions at initial sessions. Conclusion. Specific early interaction-types predict session-by-session outcomes and precede sudden gains in rCBT for SHA.
  • Mental health recovery for survivors of modern slavery: Grounded theory study protocol

    Wright, Nicola; Brookes, Caroline; Jordan, Melanie; Slade, Mike (2020)
    Introduction Slavery and human trafficking are crimes involving the violation of human rights and refer to exploitative situations where an individual cannot refuse or leave due to threats, coercion or abuse of power. Activities involving slavery include forced labour exploitation, forced sexual exploitation, forced marriage and servitude. Epidemiological studies show high levels of mental health need and poor provision of appropriate support for survivors. What mental health recovery means to victims/survivors and how it could be promoted is under-researched. Methods and analysis A grounded theory study based on individual interviews will be undertaken. Survivors across the UK will be identified and recruited from non-governmental organisations and via social media. As per grounded theory methodology, data collection and analysis will be undertaken concurrently and recruitment will continue until theoretical saturation is reached. It is anticipated that approximately 30 participants will be recruited. Interviews will be audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and uploaded to NVivo V.11. The constant comparative method will be used to analyse the data, in order to produce a theoretical framework for mental health recovery that is grounded in the experiences of survivors. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval has been obtained from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Ethics Committee at the University of Nottingham. The findings of the study will be disseminated to academic, professional and survivor-based audiences to inform future policy developments and the provision of mental health recovery support to this population. © 2020 Author(s). Published by BMJ.
  • Differential effects of cranial electrotherapy stimulation on changes in anxiety and depression symptoms over time in patients with generalized anxiety disorder

    Morriss, Richard K. (2020)
    Background: Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is a safe and well-tolerated 6-12 week treatment that is clinically and cost effective on both anxiety and depression symptoms resulting in sustained remission of these symptoms at 12 and 24 weeks in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) patients. The aim of the current report was to explore whether the effectiveness of CES was related to its effects on depression or anxiety over time METHODS: A consecutive sample of 161 eligible patients with GAD was recruited from two publicly funded services in England while they waited for individual cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) after failing to achieve remission on the GAD-7 with computerised CBT. They received 60 minutes per day Alpha-Stim CES for 6-12 weeks. Outcomes were changes in PHQ-9, GAD-7 score from baseline to 4, 6, 8, 12 and 24 weeks. Latent variable cross-lagged panel analysis permitted an analysis of the differential effects of anxiety and depression with CES treatment over time.Results: Anxiety at baseline significantly predicted depression at week 4 (standardized regression weight = .40, p<0.001). Depression at week 12 significantly predicted anxiety at week 24 (standardized regression weight = .28, p<0.05).Limitations: Not a randomized controlled trial but further analysis of a prospective observational cohort. High rates of loss to follow up by 24 weeks.Conclusion: Sustained effectiveness required a CES response to anxiety symptoms in first 4 weeks and improvement in depression symptoms by 12 weeks.
  • Anxiety Gremlins: mixed methods sequential explanatory evaluation of a CBT group intervention for children

    Redstone, Lucy (2020)
    Although research evidence supports the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for anxiety in children, it is important to examine practice-based evidence of effectiveness in typical clinical contexts. This study evaluated a CBT group intervention - 'Anxiety Gremlins' - for childhood anxiety. Participants were 36 children (19 boys, 17 girls) aged 8-13, referred for anxiety symptoms at a UK NHS service. The 8-session intervention included six child sessions (2 h) and two parent sessions (1 h). Self-report outcome measures of anxiety symptoms, life functioning and therapeutic relationships were used to measure change pre- and post-intervention. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with group facilitators and analysed through deductive content analysis to identify barriers and facilitators to change. No substantive differences were found between aggregated scores on pre-versuspost-intervention outcome measures. Reliable change in anxiety symptoms was identified in 10 children (31%), with five improvers and five deteriorators. Interviews with facilitators identified disruption in group flow, lack of facilitator time to prepare and reflect, and the complexity of clients as hindering factors. Children meeting like-minded peers to share their stories and high engagement in the therapeutic process were helpful factors. Anxiety Gremlins did not demonstrate effectiveness on outcome measures, and this contrasted with clinical opinion. Recommendations were made for the service to revisit the intervention content and the method for recruiting children to the group - as complexity/co-morbidity was linked to poorer outcomes. Future research could explore fidelity to an adapted intervention and include interviews with children and their parents. Key learning aims After reading this paper the reader should be able to: (1) Understand how instances of CBT practice can be robustly evaluated using a mixed-methods approach, including analyses of change at both group and individual levels. (2) Understand critical considerations when adapting 'evidence-based' CBT interventions for routine practice. (3) Appreciate that aggregative group-level analyses can mask clinically important differences in individual CBT outcomes.
  • A longitudinal cohort study to explore the relationship between depression, anxiety and academic performance among Emirati university students

    Davies, E. Bethan; Glazebrook, Cris (2020)
    BACKGROUND: Many university students experience depression and anxiety, both of which have been shown to affect cognitive function. However, the impact of these emotional difficulties on academic performance is unclear. This study aims to determine the prevalence of depression and anxiety in university students in United Arab Emirates (UAE). It further seeks to explore the relationship between emotional difficulties and students' academic performance. METHODS: This longitudinal study recruited 404 students (aged 17-25 years) attending one UAE university (80.4% response rate). At baseline, participants completed a paper-based survey to assess socio-economic factors and academic performance, including most recent grade point average (GPA) and attendance warnings. PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scales were used to assess depressive and anxiety symptoms. At six-month follow-up, 134 participants (33.3%) provided details of their current GPA. RESULTS: Over a third of students (34.2%; CIs 29.7-38.9%) screened for possible major depressive disorder (MDD; PHQ-9 ≥ 10) but less than a quarter (22.3%; CIs 18.2-26.3%) screened for possible generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; GAD-7 ≥ 10). The Possible MDD group had lower GPAs (p = 0.003) at baseline and were less satisfied with their studies (p = 0.015). The MDD group also had lower GPAs at follow-up (p = 0.035). The Possible GAD group had lower GPAs at baseline (p = 0.003) but did not differ at follow-up. The relationship between GAD group and GPA was moderated by gender with female students in the Possible GAD group having lower GPAs (p < 0.001) than females in the Non-GAD group. Male students in the Possible GAD group had non-significantly higher GPA scores. Higher levels of both depression and anxiety symptoms scores were associated with lower GPAs at baseline. PHQ-9 scores, but not GAD-7 scores, independently predicted lower GPA scores at follow-up (p = 0.006). This relationship was no longer statistically significant after controlling for baseline GPA (p < 0.09). CONCLUSION: This study confirms previous findings that around a third of university students are likely to be experiencing a depressive disorder at any one time. Furthermore, it provides important evidence regarding the negative impacts of emotional difficulties on students' academic performance. The results support the need to consider the mental health of students who are struggling academically and highlight the importance of signposting those students to appropriate support, including evidence-based therapies.

View more