Understanding unusual sensory experiences: a randomised experimental study of a school-based intervention for adolescents.
Radez J., Johns L., Waite F.
BACKGROUND: One in ten young people experience unusual sensory experiences (USE), such as hallucinations. From a cognitive perspective, the appraisal of USE determines the impact of these experiences. Negative appraisal, as well as other psychological processes (e.g. thinking flexibility, maladaptive schemas, anxiety/depression), is associated with more distress. Our aim was to (a) develop a universal single-session school-based intervention on USE for adolescents and (b) evaluate the effect of the intervention on appraisals of and help seeking intentions for USE. METHODS: A randomised controlled experimental design with a one-month follow-up was used to test the effectiveness of the intervention in one school. Students (n = 223) aged 12-13 were randomised by class to a single-session intervention on USE or a control intervention (generic mental wellbeing). Participants completed measures of appraisals of and help-seeking intentions for USE at pre- and postintervention and at one-month follow-up. They also completed measures of schemas, thinking flexibility and anxiety/depression at preintervention. RESULTS: Overall, 190 adolescents completed the main outcome measures at all three points. The intervention on USE led to a significant (p