Functional capacity and thought disorder in first episode psychosis: an investigation of their clinical correlates and predictors over the first year of illness

Psychosis is an illness that affects up to 3% of the population and it can often impact severely on an individual's mental health, quality of life and productivity. It is characterised by symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations in addition to lack of motivation and general withdrawal. If identified and treated at an early stage, people with psychosis can recover very well and often return to work and have healthy social lives. A lot of research has examined psychosis, but more needs to be done if we are to better understand the symptoms and recovery from this illness. Thought disorder is a symptom of mental illness that manifests as a confused pattern of speech, making it difficult for the affected individual to be understood clearly. This symptom affects a significant proportion of those with psychosis and there is some evidence that it is associated with worse outcome. Surprisingly, for those individuals presenting with their first episode of psychosis, this symptom has not been studied in any great detail. This project will investigate whether thought disorder has a significant effect on the everyday functioning of individuals affected by psychosis. There is often a lot of emphasis placed on treating only the symptoms of psychosis, but for some people these symptoms will never fully go away. Rather than concentrating just on symptoms, it may be important to understand what helps people with psychosis to function well in every day life. There are some standardised ways of assessing a person's "real world" functioning e.g. their ability to use a phone correctly. This project will make such an assessment of patients with first episode psychosis, and will enable us to understand what factors result in better functioning of those affected. This will help guide future interventions to improve functioning in psychosis.

Award Date
25 April 2013
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Eric Roche
Host Institution
St John of God's Research Foundation Limited
Research Training Fellowships for Health Professionals