Making Sense of Psychosis and Becoming Who I Really Am: Identity Development in Young Adults Who Experience Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Poster B102, Friday, October 21, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Katherine Hayden-Lewis MA LPC PhD1, Deborah Rubel PhD1; 1Early Assessment and Support Alliance Center for Excellence Regional Research Institute Portland State University, 2Oregon State University

Identity development is a central developmental task of young adulthood that young people with psychosis and schizophrenia share with others in their age group. This group of young adults also have distinct life experiences related to having psychosis and schizophrenia that uniquely influence their process of identity formation. This presentation shares the findings of a first of its kind qualitative study that used grounded theory research methodology to produce a theory of identity formation for young adults who experience first episodes of psychosis and schizophrenia. The presentation highlights the study's findings that contextual influences including relational interactions with others and experiences of stigma influence identity development. The presentation will share young adults process of making sense of psychosis, in ways that did and did not promote a healthy sense of identity. The presentation will discuss two pathways of identity formation young adults take as they form their sense of identity in the aftermath of developing psychosis and schizophrenia. The study's findings strongly suggest that it is imperative that first episode psychosis professionals must make every effort to combat stigma. They must also work to protect this groups' typical and unique processes related to becoming who they really and promote the individualized integration of psychosis and schizophrenia into their sense of identity. Implications of the study's findings include the need to include developmentally typical frameworks in first episode research, mental health clinical practices, and policies that affect the identity formation and lives of these young people.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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