The effect of sex on help-seeking pathways to mental health care of first-episode schizophrenia patients in Israel.

Poster A110, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Yamit Sol-Nottes1, Jonathan Glazer2, Mark Weiser2, Danny Koren1,3; 1Psychology Department, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel, 2Psychiatry Division, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel, 3Psychiatry Division, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel

Background and goal: Because there is an established association between delay in treatment of risk for psychosis and outcome, numerous recent studies have attempted to explore the nature and determinants of pathways to care of patients with first psychotic episode. These studies showed that the first contact for the largest proportion of patients is a physician and/or emergency services. However, very few studies have looked at the effect of sex on these findings (Anderson, Fuhrer, and Malla, 2010). The goal of this study was to explore the effect of sex on help-seeking pathways at the pre-psychotic phase in Israel. Methods: About 110 first-episode schizophrenia patients (60 men and 50 women) were interviewed about their help-seeking pathways during the time that preceded their first admission to a psychiatric ward for psychotic symptoms. Results: While the total number of attempts to seek help was rather low for both women and men, consistent with our main hypothesis, the mean number of attempts to seek help was significantly greater among women (mean=1.62, SD=0.85) than among men (mean=1.26, SD=0.94, t(102)=2.00, p=0.05). Similarly, the timing of seeking help was slightly earlier among women than among men. Conclusions: Although they should be interpreted with caution (due to their retrospective nature), the present findings suggest that men are at higher risk than women to refrain from seeking help for early pre-illness symptoms of emerging schizophrenia. Future studies should focus on identifying the reasons behind this phenomenon, as well as on ways to address them.

Topic Area: First Episode Psychosis

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