EXPLORATORY RCT OF ART THERAPY AS AN ADJUNCTIVE TREATMENT IN SCHIZOPHRENIA
Background: There is no high quality controlled trial evidence for the effectiveness of art therapy in the adjunctive treatment of schizophrenia.
Aims: To conduct the first exploratory RCT of group interactive art therapy (AT) as an adjunctive treatment in chronic schizophrenia
Method: The outcomes of 43 patients randomized to 12 sessions of AT were compared with those of 47 who received standard psychiatric care. Patients were assessed on a range of measures of symptoms, social functioning and quality of life at pre- and post-treatment and six-month follow-up.
Results: Art therapy produced a statistically significant positive effect on negative symptoms (assessed by Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms) though had little and non-significant impact on other measures.
Conclusions: Limitations of the study included insufficient statistical power and a sub-optimal level of treatment. Nevertheless, the results were sufficiently promising to justify further research along these lines.
Declaration of interest: This research was funded by a grant from the London Region NHS Executive Research and Development Directorate