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Examining the Effects of an Improvisation Group

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03147924
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : May 10, 2017
Last Update Posted : April 30, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Juliana Tobon, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

Brief Summary:
This study is taking place to examine the preliminary effects of improvisational therapy (improv group) on social anxiety for youth at the Youth Wellness Centre (YWC). The improv group will run for 12-weeks as a drop-in group. A typical session will begin with stretching, simple breathing and an activity to promote group cohesion. Following this, improvisation games and activities will be introduced with the goal of promoting the following skills: assertiveness, acceptance, problem solving, co-operate skills, non-verbal communication, mindfulness, and memory. Youth who consent to the study will be asked to complete a set of brief questionnaires the first time they attend one of the sessions. Youth who have attended at least 3 sessions will be asked again to complete questionnaires following the completion of week 12 session. Youth will also rate their anxiety and distress on a simple rating scale at the beginning and end of each session. Additionally, all participants (who have attended three or more sessions) will be invited to complete a 30 to 45 minute qualitative interview following the 12 week session. Participants are predicted to show a decrease in social anxiety, generalized anxiety and depression symptoms, and an increase in self-esteem, and perceived social support.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Anxiety Depression Self Concept Alteration Social Support Other: Improvisation Group Not Applicable

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 5 participants
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Other
Official Title: Examining the Effects of an Improvisation Group on Social Anxiety Among Help-seeking Youth
Actual Study Start Date : March 6, 2017
Actual Primary Completion Date : August 31, 2017
Actual Study Completion Date : August 31, 2017

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Anxiety

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Attending Improvisation Group
Attended 3 or more Improvisation Group sessions
Other: Improvisation Group
The aim of this pilot study is to investigate the effects of improvisational comedy in a group of help-seeking youth at risk of developing a range of mental health disorders, including social anxiety.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) [ Time Frame: Pre-group and 12-weeks later (post group) ]
    A seven-item self-report anxiety questionnaire designed to monitor and assess the severity of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) symptoms.

  2. Change in Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN) [ Time Frame: Pre-group and 12-weeks later (post group) ]
    A seventeen-item questionnaire used to measure the severity of social anxiety.

  3. Change in Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) [ Time Frame: Pre and post every improv session for a duration of 12-weeks ]
    A thermometer scale used to track anxiety before and after each session

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) [ Time Frame: Pre-group and 12-weeks later (post group) ]
    A nine-item questionnaire used to measure depression

  2. Change in Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K-10) [ Time Frame: Pre-group and 12-weeks later (post group) ]
    A 10-item questionnaire intended to measure distress based on questions about anxiety and depressive symptoms.

  3. Change in Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) [ Time Frame: Pre-group and 12-weeks later (post group) ]
    A 10-item questionnaire used to measure self-esteem.

  4. Change in Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) [ Time Frame: Pre-group and 12-weeks later (post group) ]
    A 12-item questionnaire designed to measure perception of support from 3 sources: family, friends and significant other

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   17 Years to 25 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • help-seeking youth
  • ages 17-25

Exclusion Criteria:

  • will NOT be excluded on the basis of mental health or addiction concerns

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03147924

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Canada, Ontario
Youth Wellness Centre
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L9C3L7
Sponsors and Collaborators
St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton
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Principal Investigator: Juliana Tobon, PhD.,C.Psych St. Joseph's Research Institute

Akinsola, E.F., & Udoka, P.A.. Parental Influence on Social Anxiety in Children and Adolescents: Its Assessment and Management Using Psychodrama. Psychology. 4(3A), 246-253, 2013.
Albano, A. M. & Kendall, P.C. (2002). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Children and Adolescents with Anxiety Disorders: Clinical Research Advances. International Review of Psychiatry, 14, 129-134.
Bagley C, Bolitho F, Bertrand L. Norms and Construct Validity of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale in Canadian High School Populations: Implications for counselling. Canadian Journal of Counselling. 1997;31(1):82.
Butler, M. & Pang, M. (2014). Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada: Child and Youth Mental Health. Parliamentary Information and Research Service, Library of Parliament, Publication no. 2014-13.
Kendall, P.C., Robin, J.A., Hedtke, K.A., Suveg, C., Flannery-Schroeder, E. & Gosch, E. (2005). Considering CBT with Anxious Youth? Think Exposures. Cognitive and Behavioural Practice, 12, 136-150.
Kindler, R.C. & Gray, A.A. (2010). Theater and Therapy: How Improvisation Informs the Analytic Hour. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 30, 254-266. doi: 10.1080/07351690903206223
Sheesley, A.P., Pfeffer, M. & Barish, B. (2016). Comedic Improv Therapy for the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health. 11(2), 157-169. doi: 10.1080/15401383.2016
Steitzer, C. (2011). The Brilliant Genius: Using Improv Comedy in Social Work Groups. Social Worker with Groups, 34, 270-282. doi: 10.1080/01609513.2011.558830
Yorton, T. (2005). Using Improv Methods to Overcome the Fear Factor. Wiley Periodicals. doi: 10.1002/ert.20036

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Responsible Party: Juliana Tobon, Psychologist, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton Identifier: NCT03147924     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2927
First Posted: May 10, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: April 30, 2018
Last Verified: April 2018
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Anxiety Disorders
Behavioral Symptoms
Mental Disorders