The adolescent HIV executive function and drumming (AHEAD) study, a feasibility trial of a group drumming intervention amongst adolescents with HIV.
Rowe K., Ruiz Pozuelo J., Nickless A., Nkosi AD., Dos Santos A., Kahn K., Tollman S., Wagner RG., Scerif G., Stein A.
AHEAD feasibility trial assessed the feasibility and acceptability of an 8-session group drumming programme aiming to improve executive function, depression and anxiety symptoms, and perceived social support in adolescents living with HIV in a rural low-income South African setting. Sixty-eight 12- to 19-year-old adolescents participated. They were individually randomised. The intervention arm (n = 34) received weekly hour-long group drumming sessions. Controls (n = 34) received no intervention. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed using rates of: enrolment; retention; attendance; logistical problems; adolescent-reported acceptability. Secondary measures included: five Oxford Cognitive Screen-Executive Function (OCS-EF) tasks; two Rapid Assessment of Cognitive and Emotional Regulation (RACER) tasks; the Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 (SRQ-20) measuring depression and anxiety symptoms; the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). All feasibility criteria were within green progression limits. Enrolment, retention, and acceptability were high. There was a positive effect on adolescent depressed mood with signal for a working memory effect. There were no significant effects on executive function or socio-emotional scales. Qualitative findings suggested socio-emotional benefits including: group belonging; decreased internalised stigma; improved mood; decreased anxiety. Group drumming is a feasible and acceptable intervention amongst adolescents living with HIV in rural South Africa. A full-scale trial is recommended.