Patterns and Perceptions of Face-to-Face and Digital Communication in Patients with Early Episode Psychosis

Poster A80, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Michael Grossman1, Sidney Lichtenstein1, Shaimaa Abo-El Ella2, Christopher R. Bowie1; 1Queen's University, 2The Ottawa Hospital

Impairments in social awareness and interaction can lead to feelings of isolation and reduced quality of life for patients in the early stages of psychosis. Digital communication permits the formation and maintenance of social ties from a distance and in a less stigmatized environment, which may mitigate some of the challenges that arise from face-to-face interactions. The primary goal of the present study was to compare characteristics of face-to-face and digital interactions for early psychosis patients from a community-based early intervention program (n=34) to university-aged healthy controls (n=23). Participants were administered a novel 25-item self-report questionnaire to assess the frequency of, satisfaction with, and barriers to face-to-face and digital communication. The frequency of face-to-face and digital communication in early psychosis patients was highly correlated, r=.53, p=.002. Patients reported greater challenges with face-to-face communication, t=2.79, p=.007, but a smaller and non-significant difference in challenges with digital communication, t=1.48, p=.15, compared to healthy controls. A mixed model ANOVA demonstrated an interaction at a trend level of group by satisfaction with face-to-face and digital communication, F=3.66, p=.06, suggesting that healthy controls demonstrate greater satisfaction with face-to-face than digital communication, but patients show no difference in satisfaction with either type of communication. Taken together, these findings highlight that patients are equally satisfied with their face-to-face and digital interactions, but exhibit more challenges with face-to-face communication than healthy controls. Results from this study provide insight into communication preferences in early psychosis, which may inform more tailored and effective approaches for targeting social difficulties and enhancing social networks and support for patients.

Topic Area: First Episode Psychosis

Back to Poster Schedule