for people ages 60 years and up (full criteria)
at La Jolla, California and other locations
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Eric Granholm, PhD
Headshot of Eric Granholm
Eric Granholm



The purpose of this research study to test a blended intervention that combines Executive Function Training with Cognitive-Behavioral Skills Training (E-CBSST). The aims include determining whether E-CBSST is feasible and increases Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) Skills Learning to a level that will lead to a clinically meaningful improvement in functioning.

Official Title

Optimizing Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training With Executive Function Training for Older Adults With Schizophrenia


Older adults with schizophrenia are at risk for cognitive and functional decline leading to premature institutionalization. A large and increasing number of older people with schizophrenia will need more effective services. The investigators previously developed Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST) and established its efficacy for preventing functional decline in people with schizophrenia. CBSST combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Social Skills Training (SST), and problem-solving intervention modules in an 18-session intervention that is repeated to practice the skills for a total of 36 sessions. The findings suggested that CBSST Skills Learning is an important mechanism of change in functioning in CBSST and that boosting executive function could boost CBSST Skills Learning, which could improve rather than only stabilize functioning. The investigators intend to test a blended intervention that combines CBSST and Executive Functioning Training (E-CBSST). In this open trial, 50 participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder age 60 or older will be enrolled to receive E-CBSST for 20 weeks. E-CBSST will consist first of a 2-week Executive Function Training (EFT) course that includes 3 sessions per week of computerized exercises and strategy monitoring using a worksheet and assistance from a therapist. Participants will then complete 2 cycles of E-CBSST with 18 sessions each cycle, delivered twice a week, during which participants receive brief EFT at the start of CBSST group sessions. Outcome assessments will be administered at baseline, end of Executive Function Training course (Week 2), after session 18 (mid-trial; end of first cycle) and session 36 (end-trial; end of second cycle).

The aims of the study include determining if E-CBSST is feasible and increases CBSST Skills Learning to a level that will lead to a clinically meaningful improvement in functioning and to identify the minimum number of weeks of the intervention needed to produce this change. E-CBSST could become an evidence-based intervention that enhances and not only maintains function and, in turn, reduces personal and societal burden.


Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Psychotic Disorders, E-CBSST


You can join if…

Open to people ages 60 years and up

  1. Voluntary informed consent to participate;
  2. Age 60 years or older;
  3. DSM-5 diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder based on SCID or MINI;
  4. Be clinically stable as operationalized by (1) not having been admitted to a psychiatric hospital within the three months prior to assessment, (2) having had no change in antipsychotic medication dosage within four weeks prior to the baseline assessment, and (3) and ascertained to be clinically and medically stable by one the study investigators;
  5. Be willing and able to speak English;
  6. Be able to read and converse (with corrected vision or hearing if needed).

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Meets criteria for a cognitive disorder or for a neurological or other medical disorder affecting the ability to participate in Executive Function Training or CBSST;
  2. Meets diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, current major depressive episode, or substance abuse or dependence within the six months prior to the baseline assessment except for caffeine or nicotine;
  3. Received electroconvulsive therapy within six months of the baseline assessment.


  • UC San Diego
    La Jolla California 92093 United States
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
    Toronto Ontario M6J 1H4 Canada

Lead Scientist at UCSD

  • Eric Granholm, PhD
    Dr. Granholm is Professor, Vice Chair for Clinical Research, and Director of the Center for Mental Health Technology in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1991, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.


not yet accepting patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Diego
Study Type
Expecting 50 study participants
Last Updated