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STEP WISE (Structured Education For People With Schizophrenia)

STEPWISE Publication

STEP WISE is a programme of research investigating whether a group education programme can help reduce or prevent weight gain for people who experience psychosis and take antipsychotic medication. STEP WISE is a multi-site trial spanning 10 sites across the UK and is led by academics at the University of Sheffield and the University of Southampton.


The Greater Manchester site is headed by PRU’s Prof Paul French who is one of the co-investigators on the trial.


STEPWISE is funded through the NIHR HTA stream and will progress in two phases:


Phase 1: Intervention development study

The first phase of the research study will adapt the DESMOND™ intervention, developed for people with or at risk of diabetes, to make it more appropriate for and acceptable to mental health service users and health care professionals and to provide a greater focus on weight loss. It will include qualitative research with service users, carers and healthcare professionals before a modified intervention is finalised for the next phase of the research.
This phase has successfully been completed and the study has now moved on to phase 2.


Phase 2: STEP WISE Trial

STEP WISE will be an individually randomised control trial (RCT) exploring the extent to which the structured lifestyle education programme developed in Phase 1 can support weight loss for adults with schizophrenia and first episode psychosis, in a community mental health setting. Those randomised to receive the intervention will receive an initial period of group-based structured education run by trained educators followed by ‘booster’ sessions. Those randomised to the control arm will receive routine advice and information about diet and physical activity. All participants will be assessed by researchers at baseline and followed-up at 3 and 12 months post-randomisation to the trial. The primary outcome is weight (kg) at 12 months. Acceptability and accessibility of the intervention will be explored through qualitative interviews with service users who received the intervention and healthcare professionals who delivered it to patients during the study.


The trial is now in the recruitment phase and is aiming to recruit 412 participants over a period of 15 months.


Greater Manchester West commenced recruitment in February 2015 and is currently working towards its target of 42 participants.


To make a referral to the trial please contact Elisabeth Zabel (Assistant Psychologist) on 0161 358 1397 / 07979530151 or at


For more information on STEPWISE CLICK HERE or contact Prof Paul French


Please note that STEP WISE has now reached its recruitment target and is no longer accepting new referrals!