Not all first-episode psychosis is the same: preliminary evidence of greater basic self-disturbance in schizophrenia spectrum cases


Corresponding author: Dr Barnaby Nelson, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, University of Melbourne, 35 Poplar Road (Locked Bag 10), Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia. Email:



Disturbance in the basic sense of self has previously been found to characterize schizophrenia spectrum disorders and to predict onset of psychosis in the ultra-high-risk population. The current study examined basic self-disturbance in a first-episode psychosis (FEP) population. We hypothesized that basic self-disturbance would be more prominent in cases with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder compared to those with other psychoses.


Sixteen FEP patients from Orygen Youth Health, Melbourne, were recruited to the study. Participants were assessed using the Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV.


Basic self-disturbance scores were significantly higher in patients with a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis (n = 8) compared to patients with other psychotic diagnoses (n = 8).


The findings are consistent with previous work indicating that the disturbance of the basic sense of self is more characteristic of schizophrenia spectrum psychosis than other psychoses. This may have implications for early diagnosis, clinical formulation and intervention.