• Facilitating treatment engagement for early psychosis through peer-delivered decision support: intervention development and protocol for pilot evaluation

      Thomas, Elizabeth C; Suarez, John; Lucksted, Alicia; Siminoff, Laura A; Hurford, Irene; Dixon, Lisa B; O'Connell, Maria; Penn, David L; Salzer, Mark S (Springer Nature, 2021-10-24)
      Background: Emerging adults with early psychosis demonstrate high rates of service disengagement from critical early intervention services. Decision support interventions and peer support have both been shown to enhance service engagement but are understudied in this population. The purposes of this article are to describe the development of a novel peer-delivered decision coaching intervention for this population and to report plans for a pilot study designed to gather preliminary data about its feasibility, acceptability, and potential impact. Methods: The intervention was developed based on formative qualitative data and in collaboration with a diverse team of researchers, key stakeholders, and expert consultants. The pilot trial will utilize a single-group (N = 20), pre-post, convergent mixed-methods design to explore whether and how the intervention addresses decision-making needs (the primary intervention target). The impact of the intervention on secondary outcomes (e.g., engagement in the program) will also be assessed. Additionally, through observation and feedback from the peer decision coach and study participants, we will evaluate the feasibility of research and intervention procedures, and the acceptability of information and support from the peer decision coach. Discussion: The peer-delivered decision coaching intervention holds promise for assisting young people with making informed and values-consistent decisions about their care, and potentially enhancing service engagement within this traditionally difficult-to-engage population. If the intervention demonstrates feasibility and acceptability, and pilot data show its potential for improving treatment decision-making, our work will also lay the foundation for a new evidence base regarding roles for peer specialists on early intervention teams. Trial registration: This trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (Identifier: NCT04532034 ) on 28 August 2020 as Temple University Protocol Record 261047, Facilitating Engagement in Evidence-Based Treatment for Early Psychosis.