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Early intervention, duration of untreated psychosis, first episode psychosis, phenomenology, transition-age youth

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Mounting evidence has indicated that early intervention leads to improved clinical and functional outcomes for young persons experiencing recent onset psychosis. As part of a large early detection campaign, the present study aimed to investigate subjective experiences during the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP), or time between psychosis onset and treatment contact. Participants were 10 young adults participating in early intervention services for psychosis. After DUP was estimated during standardized baseline assessment, participants engaged in qualitative interviews focused on their life experiences prior to treatment and leading up to the present. Mixed methods data analyses compared standardized DUP estimates with participants’ subjective narratives. Findings revealed that participants experienced and conceptualized a longer trajectory of subjective difficulties (TSD) beginning before and extending beyond standardized DUP estimates. Participants emphasized striving for independence and social belonging. The majority of participants reported benefiting from their current services and believed that earlier support of some kind would have been beneficial. These findings support previous research on subjective barriers to early detection and treatment seeking in young adults experiencing psychosis. Implications and future research directions include further efforts to differentiate the struggles unique to early psychosis from psychosocial risk factors and other challenges of young adulthood.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Psychosis, v. 10, issue 4, p. 307-318

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychosis on 25 October 2018, available online: