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Title: An investigation into the understanding and development of the at risk mental state
Author: Brew, Benjamin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 9577
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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Over the past two decades there has been a growing interest, both within clinical practice and research, in the At Risk Mental State (ARMS) and individuals who are presenting as putatively prodromal to psychosis. This thesis presents an examination of the ARMS, both qualitatively and quantitatively, exploring and reporting on individual’s subject experience and understanding of their ARMS, and reviewing published research on how trauma impacts on the ARMS. Together these two pieces provide insights into the understanding and development of the ARMS and add to the growing ARMS literature base. The main findings across the two pieces highlight mood as an integral part of presenting difficulties which is central to individuals experience and understanding of their ARMS. Results also highlighted a sense making process which involves multiple, and at times conflicting understandings, which are gained from a variety of sources and results in individuals’ developing incomplete, or fragmented understandings of their ARMS. With regards to the impact of trauma on the ARMS, experiences of trauma were found to have a significant impact on the ARMS observed through reported relationships between trauma variables and transition to psychosis, ARMS severity, adaptive functioning and comorbid symptomology. Of all the trauma variables examined, sexual trauma demonstrated the most consistent trauma variable to impact on the ARMS, and individuals with an ARMS who have experienced sexual trauma are at heightened risk of poorer outcome and transition to psychosis. The findings presented in this thesis highlight the need for a unifying theory of the ARMS which would help both clinicians and their clients develop a greater understanding of their ARMS, and would guide future research in the area. Results, limitations, and clinical implications are discussed within in the context of the existing literature base, and suggestions for future prospective design research are made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available