Critical Review of the Literature: Peer support groups for voice hearers a review of the evidence
Background: Group interventions appear to be acceptable and frequently used approaches to support individuals who experience distressing voices. These interventions vary in terms of approach but all offer an opportunity for voice hearers to access peer support.
Method: The review summarises the available quantitative and qualitative evidence on peer support within Hearing Voices Groups, describing the degree to which this is included within groups, how the effect of this is evaluated and what these effects are. Following a systematic review process and additional screening by a second reviewer, a narrative synthesis of the findings was undertaken. Identified studies were assessed using a quality appraisal tool.
Results: Twenty-five studies were included, these were highly heterogeneous, varying in methodology and quality. There was evidence of the occurrence of peer support within all identified studies however the degree to which this was explicitly included within protocols varied. The majority of studies did not explicitly evaluate peer support, with the only two studies using an experimental design being of poor methodological quality.
Conclusions: The available evidence suggests a number of benefits of including peer support such as normalising and increased social support, in addition to some negative effects. The evidence base is currently at a preliminary stage and is largely exploratory, the presented findings would be strengthened with experimental design and statistical analysis.
Keywords: Voices, Peer Support, Groups.
Clinicians’ attitudes towards and understandings of Hearing Voices Groups: A service related project
Aim: An initiative was proposed to integrate local hearing voices groups within statutory adult mental health services in a particular NHS Trust. The aim of this service evaluation was to assess clinician’s attitudes towards, and understandings, of the groups to better inform the proposal.
Methods: Multi-disciplinary NHS staff members were invited to participate in a brief survey on their attitudes towards, and understanding about hearing voices groups. The survey was coproduced with people with lived experience of hearing voices, and local mental health professionals. Content analysis was used to analyse qualitative data from an additional free text section of the survey.
Results: Forty mental health professionals responded to the survey. There was majority consensus (>50% agreement) on all items relating to perceived benefit of hearing voices groups. The findings also showed that only 25% of respondents felt they were aware of the evidence base for hearing voices groups, and only 30% felt confident explaining hearing voices groups to service users.
Conclusions: The data suggests that the majority of mental health professionals hold positive attitudes towards hearing voices groups. However, many expressed uncertainty about the evidence base and discussing the groups with service users, highlighting further training needs in these areas.
An experimental analogue study of the effect of manipulating response style to simulated voices on subjective distress and anxiety
Aim: To investigate the effect between two response styles to a simulation of voice hearing on subjective distress. Testing for differences between a mindful acceptance and an attentional avoidance response style.
Methods: Participants were randomly allocated to one of the two response styles, which they utilised whilst listening to a simulation of voice hearing. Participants rated their subjective anxiety and distress before and after utilising their assigned response style. Due to recruitment difficulties a partly simulated data set was used.
Results: Data from 20 participants was collected, this data was then used to create a partly simulated data set (n=92). Post anxiety scores were predicted to be 4.246 points higher for participants in the acceptance condition. Post distress scores were predicted to be 8.788 points lower for participants in the acceptance.
Conclusions: The paper provides inconclusive findings due to the failure of both manipulation checks. Due to the limitations of using a partly simulated data set further research is required to fully test the experiments hypotheses.
|Date of Award||10 Oct 2022|
|Supervisor||Paul Chadwick (Supervisor) & Pamela Jacobsen (Supervisor)|