Social anxiety is among the most prevalent and debilitating affective disturbances manifest in people with psychosis. It is usually accompanied by high levels of depression and leads to significant social disability, lower quality of life and poorer prognosis as it raises the possibility of an early relapse. Despite its elevated prevalence and severity in psychosis, social anxiety remains under-recognized and under-treated. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is recommended for the treatment of people with psychosis. However, its focus and evaluation has primarily revolved around the reduction of psychotic symptoms, and not for co-morbid affective disturbances such as social anxiety. There is lack of evidence on the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural interventions for the treatment of social anxiety disorder in psychosis.
Electronic databases will be systematically searched for randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies investigating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural interventions for the treatment of social anxiety disorder in people with psychosis. Grey literature will also be searched by screening trial registers. Only studies published in English will be included in the review. Date restrictions will not be applied. Eligible studies will have as the primary outcome social anxiety (continuous data) measured using any psychometrically validated scale both self-reported and clinician administered. Secondary outcomes will include general anxiety symptoms, distress, depression, positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and quality of life measured using any psychometrically validated scale, both self-reported and clinician administered, and the cost of cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) intervention (with another treatment or treatment-as-usual).
This review will provide an evidence synthesis of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural interventions for the treatment of social anxiety disorder in people with psychosis. The review will identify the specific intervention components associated with effectiveness which will facilitate the translation of the existing evidence to the development of new, targeted interventions optimising these components. In doing so, this review will provide recommendations for the treatment of social anxiety and associated distress in psychosis and will further inform the development of future interventions in this area.