A qualitative study into using virtual reality to deliver social cognition training to those diagnosed with first episode psychosis (VEEP trial)

Poster A94, Monday, October 8, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Farah Elahi1, Max Birchwood1, Sandra Bucci2, Ivo Vlaev1, Dave Taylor3, Alba Realpe1, Fiona Leahy1, Jennifer Martin4, Bethan Davies4, Andrew Thompson1; 1University of Warwick, 2University of Manchester, 3Imperial College London, 4University of Nottingham

Rationale: Social cognitive interventions have not been as thoroughly assessed in the beginning stages of psychosis, where the opportunity to improve outcomes is the greatest. Technological developments mean that there are more appealing methods of engaging with young individuals whom are less likely to access psychological interventions. Methods: A single-arm non-randomised psychoeducation trial designed to target social cognitive deficits in a first episode psychosis population will be described. The ‘Social Cognition and Interaction Training,’ a form of group CBT was modified and implemented via an online virtual reality (VR) platform (Second Life ©), which can be accessed via a computer. Participants (N=20) will attend treatment using an avatar, which will take place during 1 hour bi-weekly sessions for 4 weeks. The study will adopt a mixed methods approach. The qualitative data analyses will be presented here. Semi structured interviews will be conducted post intervention, with both participants who have completed the intervention and those who have dropped out. Participants will be asked about their prior digital expertise, experiences of VR, its applicability to everyday life, and the impact it has had on managing mental health. The data will be analysed using a thematic analysis method developed by Braun and Clarke (2006). Results: The qualitative data analyses will be presented outlining the themes relating to the use of this technology as a method of delivering treatment. Conclusion: This study will help to assess the acceptability and feasibility of utilising VR technologies in the treatment of social cognitive deficits in psychosis.

Topic Area: First Episode Psychosis

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