Be Outspoken and Overcome Stigmatizing Thoughts (BOOST): A Group Treatment for Internalized Stigma in First-Episode Psychosis

Poster C10, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Melissa Milanovic1, Michael W Best1, Michael Grossman1, Christopher R Bowie1; 1Queen's University

Nearly half of individuals experiencing psychotic disorders report moderate to high levels of internalized stigma, which can significantly interfere with the recovery goals of patients. Despite a growing awareness of the negative clinical outcomes of internalized stigma, few interventions have been designed to specifically address this issue in first episode psychosis. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to examine the efficacy of a novel treatment for this specialized population: BOOST (Be Outspoken and Overcome Stigmatizing Thoughts). BOOST is an eight-session group intervention that combines cognitive restructuring, assertive communication skills, and peer support. Participants (N = 10) recruited from an early psychosis intervention clinic received BOOST in a pilot non-controlled, open-label study. BOOST significantly improved internalized stigma, p = .04; self-esteem, p = .02; and satisfaction with life, p = .03. Results from this pilot study suggest that in addition to reducing internalized stigma, BOOST effects might transfer to other proximal and distal outcome measures. We are currently evaluating the BOOST intervention in an ongoing larger randomized controlled trial with the aims of providing more definitive evidence regarding efficacy of the role of combined peer support and cognitive behavioural intervention for reducing internalized stigma.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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