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Keywords:

  • duration of untreated illness;
  • duration of untreated psychosis;
  • first-episode psychosis;
  • pathways to care;
  • personal/family familiarity with psychosis/mental disorders

Abstract

Aim

Based on prior research, we hypothesized that personal or family familiarity with psychosis would have a different effect on pathways to care as compared to personal or family familiarity with mental disorders.

Methods

Caregivers of 32 patients receiving treatment for a first episode of psychosis at a specialized early intervention centre provided information regarding their familiarity with psychosis and mental disorders. Information on the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and on the duration of untreated illness (DUI) was collected from patients and their caregivers.

Results

Although we found a trend in the direction of lowered DUP and longer DUI for those with personal or family familiarity with psychosis, these effects were not statistically significant. A trend was found for a higher DUI for those with personal or family familiarity with mental disorders in general, but this effect was not significant.

Conclusion

We did not find that differential familiarity with mental disorders and by extension, personal or family familiarity, affected measures of delay in treatment of a first episode of psychosis. Trends in our findings in the hypothesized directions suggest that a larger sample size may reveal significant differential effects of previous experience with mental disorders in general and psychosis in particular on delay in help seeking during different phases of the illness.