J Med Internet Res. 2023 Nov 13;25:e48634. doi: 10.2196/48634.
BACKGROUND: Impairments in cognition and motivation are core features of psychosis and strong predictors of social and occupational functioning. Accumulating evidence indicates that cognitive deficits in psychosis can be improved by computer-based cognitive training programs; however, barriers include access and adherence to cognitive training exercises. Limited evidence-based methods have been established to enhance motivated behavior. In this study, we tested the effects of web-based targeted cognitive and social cognitive training (TCT) delivered in conjunction with an innovative digital smartphone app called Personalized Real-Time Intervention for Motivational Enhancement (PRIME). The PRIME app provides users with a motivational coach to set personalized goals and secure social networking for peer support.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated whether deficits in cognition and motivation in people with a psychosis spectrum disorder (N=100) can be successfully addressed with 30 hours of TCT+PRIME as compared with 30 hours of a computer games control condition (CG) plus PRIME (CG+PRIME). Here, we describe our study procedures, the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, and the results on all primary outcomes.
METHODS: In this double-blind randomized controlled trial, English-speaking participants completed all cognitive training, PRIME activities, and assessments remotely. Participants completed a diagnostic interview and remote cognitive, clinical, and self-report measures at baseline, posttraining, and at a 6-month follow-up.
RESULTS: This study included participants from 27 states across the United States and 8 countries worldwide. The study population was 58% (58/100) female, with a mean age of 33.77 (SD 10.70) years. On average, participants completed more than half of the cognitive training regimen (mean 18.58, SD 12.47 hours of training), and logged into the PRIME app 4.71 (SD 1.58) times per week. The attrition rate of 22% (22/100) was lower than that reported in our previous studies on remote cognitive training. The total sample showed significant gains in global cognition (P=.03) and attention (P<.001). The TCT+PRIME participants showed significantly greater gains in emotion recognition (P<.001) and global cognition at the trend level (P=.09), although this was not statistically significant, relative to the CG+PRIME participants. The total sample also showed significant improvements on multiple indices of motivation (P=.02-0.05), in depression (P=.04), in positive symptoms (P=.04), and in negative symptoms at a trend level (P=.09), although this was not statistically significant. Satisfaction with the PRIME app was rated at 7.74 (SD 2.05) on a scale of 1 to 10, with higher values indicating more satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of remote cognitive training combined with the PRIME app and that this intervention can improve cognition, motivation, and symptoms in individuals with psychosis. TCT+PRIME appeared more effective in improving emotion recognition and global cognition than CG+PRIME. Future analyses will test the relationship between hours of cognitive training completed; PRIME use; and changes in cognition, motivation, symptoms, and functioning.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02782442; https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT02782442.