Smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment and intervention in a coping-focused intervention for hearing voices (SAVVy): study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Smartphone-based ecological momentary assessment and intervention (EMA/I) show promise for enhancing psychological treatments for psychosis. EMA has the potential to improve assessment and formulation of experiences which fluctuate day-to-day, and EMI may be used to prompt use of therapeutic strategies in daily life. The current study is an examination of these capabilities in the context of a brief, coping-focused intervention for distressing voice hearing experiences. METHODS/DESIGN:This is a rater-blinded, pilot randomised controlled trial comparing a four-session intervention in conjunction with use of smartphone EMA/I between sessions, versus treatment-as-usual. The recruitment target is 34 participants with persisting and distressing voice hearing experiences, recruited through a Voices Clinic based in Melbourne, Australia, and via wider advertising. Allocation will be made using minimisation procedure, balancing of the frequency of voices between groups. Assessments are completed at baseline and 8 weeks post-baseline. The primary outcomes of this trial will focus on feasibility and acceptability of the intervention and trial methodology, with secondary outcomes examining preliminary clinical effects related to overall voice severity, the emotional and functional impact of the voices, and emotional distress. DISCUSSION:This study offers a highly novel examination of specific smartphone capabilities and their integration with traditional psychological treatment for distressing voices. Such technology has potential to enhance psychological interventions and promote adaptation to distressing experiences. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry, ACTRN12617000348358 . Registered on 7 March 2017.


  • Bell, Imogen H
  • Fielding-Smith, Sarah F
  • Hayward, Mark
  • Rossell, Susan L
  • Lim, Michelle H
  • Farhall, John
  • Thomas, Neil

publication date

  • 2018

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