Effectiveness Trial of Attention Shaping for Schizophrenia

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Among people with schizophrenia, attentional impairment is a major barrier to being able to engage in, and learn new skills in, psychosocial skills training interventions. Therefore, developing methods to promote attentiveness and learning during skills training is an important step in improving treatment outcomes. Prior case reports, one controlled study, and data from an ongoing R21 application indicate that attention shaping procedures (ASP) are highly effective methods to achieve these goals. ASP is a manualized, behavioral intervention that involves individualized goal-setting, and standardized observational rating, prompting, and reinforcement procedures to assist patients in increasing the duration and quality of their attentiveness in psychosocial interventions. To date, studies of ASP have been limited in their outcome evaluations to in- group attentiveness and learning of group material. Other cognitive outcomes, generalizability, functional outcomes and durability of gains have not been studied. This proposal, therefore, describes a controlled effectiveness study of ASP that would comprehensively assess relevant outcomes, generalizability, functional skills related to those taught in the intervention and maintenance of the gains over six months. ASP will be integrated within a standard form of social skills training [UCLA Basic Conversation Skills Module (BCS)], and compared to a BCS-alone condition. Specific aims of the study involve examinations of: 1) the generalizability of ASP's effects to relevant domains of non-study-group attentiveness, and standardized measures of neurocognition;2) functional outcomes involving social skills, as assessed through self-report, other-report, interview, and role-play based measures;and 3) the durability of ASP-associated gains, by conducting a 6-month follow-up assessment on all subjects. Statistical analyses will involve time-series and growth curve models that make use of daily in-group performance data to model treatment response. These data, plus more traditional analyses will determine whether, and to what extent, ASP confers advantages in attention, and learning and/or performance of behavioral skills to patients who receive it. The long-term objective of this project is to demonstrate that ASP can narrow the gap between the existence of potentially effective psychosocial interventions (such as skills training) and patients who, at present, cannot benefit from them due to attentional difficulties.
Effective start/end date9/14/067/31/12


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $381,283.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $451,783.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $445,299.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $446,350.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $455,946.00


  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Social Psychology


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