Effectiveness of sensory modulation for people with schizophrenia: A multisite quantitative prospective cohort study

Tawanda Machingura*, David Shum, Chris Lloyd, Karen Murphy, Evelyne Rathbone, Heather Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction
Current research evidence suggests that people with schizophrenia have sensory processing difficulties. Sensory modulation has growing evidence for use in this population. This study aimed to evaluate the extent to which health, social, cognitive, and occupational functioning outcomes were impacted by sensory modulation interventions for people with schizophrenia.

Methods
A prospective observational cohort study using a waitlist control design was used in two large hospital and health services in Queensland, Australia. The study recruited patients who used sensory modulation (n = 30) across the two hospitals and those who did not use sensory modulation interventions as a control (n = 11). Results were analysed using a series of planned comparisons including independent and paired t-tests, and mixed ANOVA was used whenever statistically indicated. The analysed measures were pre- and post-intervention scores.

Results
This study found no statically significant differences between the control and intervention groups at both pre- and post-intervention. However, analysis of results from within the intervention group showed statistically significant improvements between pre- and post-test scores on distress, occupational functioning, and health and social functioning but not on sensory processing and global cognitive processing. Further analysis of results from this study, compared with those from an earlier study on the general population showed significant differences in Low Registration and Sensation Avoiding, as measured by the Adult/Adolescent Sensory Profile, between participants with schizophrenia and those without schizophrenia.

Conclusion

This study provides evidence to suggest that sensory modulation interventions can be complementary to standard care when utilised appropriately in clinical settings. Findings also suggest that the sensory profile of people with schizophrenia is different to that of the general population and this may have clinical implications. Further longitudinal research is needed with larger and randomised samples, using more targeted measures to better explore effectiveness of sensory modulation interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2022

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