Project 2 Preventing psychosis in young people: a second- level school-based study

Research Theme Preventing psychosis among young people

A participatory action project to co-design and trial a school-based intervention focused on distress associated with attenuated psychotic symptoms in young people

Attenuated psychotic symptoms refer to perceptual abnormalities, unusual thought content, and disorganised speech that occur in the absence of a psychotic disorder. They are commonly reported by young people and are a known risk factor for psychopathology. This project is focusing on the development and testing of a CBT-oriented, school-based intervention targeting distress associated with attenuated psychotic symptoms in non help-seeking young people.

To start, we will conduct a systematic literature review on the distress associated with attenuated psychotic symptoms in general youth populations. We will then work on co-creating an educational intervention that will be delivered in secondary schools to young people in a classroom setting. The co-creation will involve professionals from the STEP Team (a psychosis prevention team in Antrim – several members of the research team work clinically within this service), service users from this team who are experiencing attenuated symptoms, and students and pastoral care teams from the schools involved.

For the final part of this project, we will conduct a feasibility study of the educational intervention to determine if the approach we have developed is both feasible and acceptable.

This is an exciting project that combines participatory action and evaluation research. The project team has experience in co-creation and the development of school-based interventions.

Project team

Project lead scholar
Louise Cassidy

Principal investigators
Dr. Ciaran Mulholland (QUB)
Professor Gavin Davidson (QUB)
Dr. Ciaran Shannon (HSCNI)

Primary institutional base
Queen’s University Belfast (QUB)