Metacognitive training benefits accumulate over time for schizophrenia patients

The benefits of metacognitive training to target cognitive biases persist for at least 3 years, with late additional benefits appearing more than 6 months after the intervention, shows research.

Patients’ self-esteem and quality of life showed improvements long after they underwent training, report Steffen Moritz (University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany) and co-workers in JAMA Psychiatry.

The findings come from a long-term follow-up of a randomised trial comparing the effects of metacognitive training and neuropsychological training in patients with schizophrenia. The metacognitive training targeted jumping to conclusions and overconfidence in errors (ie, cognitive biases), aiming to reduce the severity of delusions.

Of the 150 patients who underwent randomisation, 61.3% were available for follow-up at 3 years. Over this time, the average core delusion score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) in patients assigned to metacognitive training fell from 6.58 to 4.79. This change was significantly greater than the reduction in patients who underwent neuropsychological training (the COGPACK programme), from 6.26 to 5.73 points.