The subjective experience of youths at clinically high risk of psychosis: A qualitative study

Shelly Ben-David, Michael L. Birnbaum, Mara E. Eilenberg, Jordan E. DeVylder, Kelly E. Gill, Jessica Schienle, Neyra Azimov, Ellen P. Lukens, Larry Davidson, Cheryl M. Corcoran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Understanding the experience of individuals across stages of schizophrenia is important for development of services to promote recovery. As yet, little is known about the experience of individuals who exhibit prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia. Methods: Audiotaped interviews were conducted with 27 participants of diverse racial-ethnic backgrounds who were at clinically high risk of psychosis (15 males and 12 females; mean age 21). Phenomenological qualitative research techniques of coding, consensus, and comparison were used. Results: Emergent themes differed by gender. Themes for males were feeling abnormal or "broken," focus on going "crazy," fantasy and escapism, and alienation and despair, with a desire for relationships. Themes for females were psychotic illness among family members, personal trauma, struggle with intimate relationships, and career and personal development. Conclusions: The finding of relative social engagement and future orientation of females identified as at risk for psychosis is novel and has implications for outreach and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1501
Number of pages3
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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