Identity in the context of early psychosis: a review of recent research


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Purpose: The emergence of psychosis most frequently occurs during adolescence and young adulthood, a period of development in which identity is developed and consolidated. The present narrative review surveyed and synthesized recent empirical contributions to the issue of identity in the context of early psychosis, to inform clinical and future research considerations. Materials and Methods: A systematic search obtained 983 reports pertaining to identity and psychosis among youth and young adults. After screening the abstracts, 81 studies were reviewed in full, yielding 17 that met inclusion criteria. Studies were reviewed with regard to major themes by authors. Results: Three major themes emerged, the majority of which employed qualitative methods. The first theme indicated a disruption to personal identity posed by psychosis symptoms and the diagnosis of mental illness. The second theme suggested that identity difficulties may confer additional emotional and behavioural risk among this population. Third, young people with psychosis indicated the importance of restoring their personal identity, as distinct from their experiences of psychosis, during the recovery process. Conclusions: Identity-related concerns are important aspects of young people’s experience in the early stages of psychosis. Research is needed to determine the potential for interventions to support and enhance identity within early psychosis care.

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