Objective: People living with psychotic disorders (schizophrenia spectrum and bipolar disorders) have high rates of cardiovascular disease risk behaviours, including smoking, physical inactivity and poor diet. We report cardiovascular disease risk, smoking cessation and other risk behaviour outcomes over 36 months following recruitment into a two-arm randomised controlled trial among smokers with psychotic disorders.
Methods: Participants ( N = 235) drawn from three sites were randomised to receive nicotine replacement therapy plus (1) a Healthy Lifestyles intervention delivered over approximately 9 months or (2) a largely telephone-delivered intervention (designed to control for nicotine replacement therapy provision, session frequency and other monitoring). The primary outcome variables were 10-year cardiovascular disease risk and smoking status, while the secondary outcomes included weekly physical activity, unhealthy eating, waist circumference, psychiatric symptomatology, depression and global functioning.
Results: Significant reductions in cardiovascular disease risk and smoking were detected across the 36-month follow-up period in both intervention conditions, with no significant differences between conditions. One-quarter (25.5%) of participants reported reducing cigarettes per day by 50% or more at multiple post-treatment assessments; however, few (8.9%) managed to sustain this across the majority of time points. Changes in other health behaviours or lifestyle factors were modest; however, significant improvements in depression and global functioning were detected over time in both conditions. Participants experiencing worse 'social discomfort' at baseline (e.g. anxiety, mania, poor self-esteem and social disability) had on average significantly worse global functioning, lower scores on the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey physical scale and significantly greater waist circumference.
Conclusion: Although the telephone-delivered intervention was designed as a comparison condition, it achieved excellent retention and comparable outcomes. Telephone-delivered smoking cessation support may potentially help to reduce smoking rates among people with psychotic disorders. Discomfort in social situations may also be a useful target for future health interventions, addressing confidence and social skills, and promoting social networks that reduce inactivity.
Keywords: Smoking cessation; cardiovascular disease; healthy lifestyle; psychosis.