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Title: Investigating the relationship between negative symptoms, autobiographical memory and concept of self in people recovering from first episode psychosis
Author: Stubbins, Claire L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 238X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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This study brings together findings from both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and first episode psychosis (FEP) research, attempting to identify similarities in cognitive processes across the two disorders. In light of the evidence that a significant proportion of people who experience FEP display symptoms indicative of PTSD, it seems plausible that current theories derived from PTSD research may be useful in explaining some of the mechanisms involved in FEP. The study initially explored the idea that negative symptoms of psychosis are a reaction to the potentially traumatic experience of a psychotic episode. Previous research has shown that possible traumagenic elements of psychosis might include the distressing nature of the psychotic symptoms or the treatment a person receives. In addition, the study investigated whether a particular finding in PTSD, the association between a discrepant self-concept and a tendency to recall more trauma-related memories, is also seen in psychosis, and whether this is related to the level of negative symptoms a person experiences. The study recruited 51 individuals from across East Anglia, England, who had experienced FEP and were considered to be in recovery from psychosis. Although participants in the study were in remission from their positive symptoms, high levels of depression, anxiety, and psychosis-related trauma symptoms were found. The findings of the study provide support for the application of a model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), involving self-discrepancy and autobiographical memory, to individuals with FEP since there was a significant association between self-concept discrepancy and the tendency to recall memories related to psychosis for a subset of individuals who experienced their first episode of psychosis as particularly traumatic. The theoretical and clinical applications of this finding are discussed along with suggestion for future research in the area.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available