Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Schizophrenia is a serious, long term mental health condition that causes a wide range of psychological symptoms broadly categorised as positive and negative. The positive symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not real), delusions (believing things that cannot be true), and disorganised thinking and behaviour. Negative symptoms include apathy (general lack of interest) and anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure) which describe an individual’s limited ability to experience life events. Other significant negative symptoms are associated with people’s inability to express themselves, namely emotional blunting (inability to express feelings) and alogia (inability to verbally express oneself). People with schizophrenia who show mainly negative symptoms often have a poorer prognosis compared to patients who show mainly positive symptoms, and people who express symptoms of apathy-anhedonia fare even worse than those expressing emotional blunting and alogia. This is because there are very few effective drug-based and psychological treatments for negative symptoms in schizophrenia, particularly ones targeting apathy-anhedonia. The Positive Emotions Program for Schizophrenia (PEPS) is a new psychological treatment that has been developed to tackle the symptoms of apathy and anhedonia in people with schizophrenia. PEPS aims to teach participants various skills to help them overcome feelings of hopelessness, and to increase the anticipation and maintenance of positive emotions. The aim of this study is to see how well PEPS works to reduce the symptoms of anhedonia and apathy in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders.

Who can participate?
French-speaking adults diagnosed with schizophrenia or a schizoaffective disorder.

What does the study involve?
All participants attend eight weekly 1-hour PEPS sessions which involve a presentation and group discussion. Participants are asked to fill in questionnaires before the start of the study, then again 1 week after the PEPS sessions have been completed.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
This study has no specific physical or psychological risks. Some people may not appreciate the intervention, feel uncomfortable or tired. In this case, there is no obligation to speak to the group, or even to continue following the sessions. In case of discomfort, participants are free to stop their participation in the study at any time.

Where is the study run from?
1. Organisation de Soins à Domicile (OSAD) SISP SA (Switzerland)
2. Fondation HorizonSud (Switzerland)
3. Fondation Pro-Home (Switzerland)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
May 2014 to February 2015

Who is funding the study?
This study is supported by a donation from Dr Alexander Engelhorn (Switzerland)

Who is the main contact?
Prof J Favrod

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Jérôme Favrod


Contact details

Avenue Vinet 30

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Positive Emotions Program for Schizophrenia (PEPS): a pilot intervention to reduce anhedonia and apathy


PEPS pilot

Study hypothesis

Eight sessions of PEPS will reduce anhedonia and apathy, as measured using the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS).

Ethics approval

Vaud Cantonal Ethics Commission on Human Research, 06/05/2014, ref: 127/14.

Study design

Open pre-/post-comparison within subject design

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Non randomised study

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet.


Anhedonia and apathy in schizophrenia


Eight 1-hour group PEPS sessions, administered using visual and audio materials and presented as a PowerPoint presentation. PEPS is an intervention intended to reduce anhedonia and apathy in patients with schizophrenia. The program teaches skills to help overcome defeatist thinking and to increase the anticipation and maintenance of positive emotions.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) at pre and post-test. Baseline assessment is done the week before participation in PEPS, and one week following the end of PEPS intervention. Duration of PEPS is 8 weeks overall.

Secondary outcome measures

Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS) at pre and post-test.

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. ICD-10 criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia or a schizoaffective disorder
2. Presenting a score of at least 2 on the overall SANS anhedonia scale
3. Aged 18-65
4. Read and understand French
5. Capacity for consent according to the San Diego Brief Assessment of Capacity to Consent. This tool measures a patient's understanding of an information sheet. If the potential participant is unable to respond correctly to the questions asked after reading the sheet, the patient is excluded. The procedure can be conducted a maximum of twice.

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

Failure to demonstrate capacity for consent according to the San Diego Brief Assessment of Capacity to Consent.

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Organisation de Soins à Domicile (OSAD) SISP SA
Avenue des Oiseaux 13

Trial participating centre

Fondation HorizonSud
Route de la Rotonde 25 case postale 41

Trial participating centre

Fondation Pro-Home
Appartements FOND-VERT Chemin de l’Eglise 8

Sponsor information


La Source School of Nursing Sciences (HEdS La Source)

Sponsor details

Avenue Vinet 30
+41 21 641 38 06

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

This study is supported by a donation from Dr Alexander Engelhorn (Switzerland)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Results of this pilot study will be submitted to a peer review journal. The results of this study will be used to calculate the power of the intervention to apply for a grant for a randomised study. The grant has been submitted to the Swiss National Scientific Fundation request number 320030_163355.

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Available on request

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2015 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes