PACES: Promoting Activity and Cognitive Enrichment in Schizophrenia

Help for Adults with Schizophrenia and Negative Symptoms

Negative symptoms, including difficulties with motivation and engaging others, can limit the quality of life of individuals living with schizophrenia. The PACES program is testing new treatments to address negative symptoms and the disability they cause by using novel approaches to cognitive rehabilitation and stress management.

PACES is a treatment study for people diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective and negative symptoms.  Common negative symptoms include:

  • Low Motivation
  • Difficulty getting started and completing activities
  • Reduced interest/pleasure
  • Saying very little about things
  • Social withdrawal

Participants will be treated for up to 18 months with either Cognitive Enhancement Therapy or Enriched Supportive Therapy; both of which have been shown to help people with schizophrenia.

In addition to receiving these research interventions, participants will also be asked to complete interviews and computer testing. Participants will be compensated for completing these assessment activities, and will not be billed for treatment provided by the study.

Who is Eligible to Participate

Individuals with the following characteristics may be eligible for the PACES program:

  • Age 18-60
  • Diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder
  • Persistent negative symptoms
  • Taking prescribed antipsychotic medication
  • No diagnosis or history of seizures, head trauma or mental disability
  • No drug or alcohol abuse
  • Ability to speak and read English

Is There a Charge to Participate?

There is no charge for any of the research procedures, including Cognitive Enhancement Therapy and Enriched Supportive Therapy appointments. Financial reimbursement for travel to the clinic is available and participants could earn up to $825.00 for completing the study.

What is Cognitive Enhancement Therapy?

This research intervention aims to help with problems in thinking, planning, and socialization. Participants begin with neurocognitive training using computer software programs. They also participate in a small social-cognitive group to learn about their condition and how to act wisely in social situations by developing the abilities needed to understand another person’s perspective, evaluate social contexts, and be foresightful.

Time commitment: about 3 1/2 hours per week

What is Enriched Supportive Therapy?

This research intervention uses individual supportive therapy to help adults learn about their condition, manage their emotions and stress, improve their social skills, and cope with everyday problems. Participants will learn about the impact of stress on their lives, how to identify their own early cues of distress, and apply effective coping strategies to manage their illness. They also participate in a monthly support group.