ABSTRACT: Coping by families of patients with schizophrenia include 'approach' strategies considered to be adaptive (e.g. reinterpretation) and potentially maladaptive 'avoidant' strategies (denial/disengagement, use of alcohol and drugs). Little is known about coping strategies used by families of individuals with incipient or emergent psychosis.
Self-reported coping styles were assessed in family members of 11 ultra high risk and 12 recent-onset psychosis patients, using a modified version of Carver's Coping Orientations to Problems Experienced questionnaire.
Families reported moderate use of 'approach' coping (e.g. planning, seeking social support, positive reinterpretation, acceptance and turning to religion) and rare use of 'avoidant' coping strategies (denial/disengagement and use of alcohol and drugs).
The greater endorsement of 'approach' coping by these families is consistent with findings for families of first episode psychosis patients, and it is in contrast to more prevalent 'avoidant' coping by families of patients with more chronic psychotic illness. Early intervention could plausibly help families maintain the use of potentially more adaptive 'approach' coping strategies over time.
Early Intervention in Psychiatry 02/2011; 5(1):76-80. · 0.92 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Stigma is pervasive among families of individuals with psychotic disorders and includes both general and 'associative' stigma - that is, the process by which a person is stigmatized by virtue of association with another stigmatized individual. These forms of stigma may present a barrier to help seeking. However, little is known about stigma in the early stages of evolving psychotic disorder.
Family members of 11 individuals at clinical high risk and of nine patients with recent-onset psychosis were evaluated for generalized and associative stigma using the Opinions about Mental Illness (modified) and the Family Experiences Interview Schedule.
In this small study, the level of stigma was low, as families endorsed many supportive statements, for example, patients should be encouraged to vote, patients want to work, mental illness should be protected legally as a disability and parity should exist in insurance coverage. Families also endorsed that both talking and a belief in God and prayer can help someone get better. Only ethnic minority families of individuals with recent-onset psychosis endorsed a sense of shame and need to conceal the patient's illness.
This preliminary study suggests that family stigma is low in the early stages of psychotic disorder, a finding that requires further investigation in a larger and more representative sample. This may be an opportune time to engage young people and families, so as to reduce duration of untreated illness. Ethnic differences in stigma, if replicated, highlight the need for cultural sensitivity in engaging individuals and their families in treatment.
Early Intervention in Psychiatry 05/2009; 3(2):108-15. · 0.92 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Family burden is prevalent in psychotic disorders, but little is known about burden experienced by families of patients in early illness. In this exploratory study, we examined the extent of burden reported by families of patients during a putative prodromal period and in the after-math of psychosis onset.
Family burden was assessed in 23 family members of patients with emerging or early psychosis. The Family Experiences Interview Schedule was used to assess both objective and subjective burden. Objective burden is comprised of increased resource demands and disruption of routine. Subjective burden includes worry, anger/displeasure and resentment at objective burden.
Family burden was comparable for the clinical high-risk and recent-onset psychosis patients. Worry was as high as previously reported for more chronic patients. By contrast, there was a relative absence of displeasure/anger. Family members endorsed assisting patients in activities of daily living, although not 'minding' doing so, and reported little need to supervise or control patients' behaviour.
Early in emerging psychotic illness, families report helping patients and worrying about them, but their lives are not yet disrupted and they do not have much anger or resentment.This may be an ideal time then for intervention with families, as worry may motivate help-seeking by families.
Early Intervention in Psychiatry 12/2008; 2(4):256-61. · 0.92 Impact Factor