Adolescent and Young Adult Consumer-Clinician Relationships in Mental Health: A Pilot Study Based on Lived Experience

Poster C40, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Nathan Schwirian1, Victoria Hendel2, Nicole Varca2, Christian Rosa Baez1, Susan Landy1, Linda Larson1, Irving Wu1, Melissa Alford1, Jonathan Delman4, Matcheri Keshavan2,3, Larry Seidman2,3, Raquelle Mesholam-Gately2,3; 1Consumer Advisory Board, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, 2Commonwealth Research Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 3Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 4University of Massachusetts Medical School

Individuals with a lived experience of mental illness and researchers have known that the therapeutic alliance between clinicians and mental health consumers is likely associated with better symptomatic and functional outcomes. However, few instruments have been developed by collaboration with people with lived mental health experience and researchers to assess consumer-clinician relationships and quality of life (QL). We examined the relationship between therapeutic alliance and QL expressed by adolescent and young adult mental health consumers in the earlier courses of their illness. Mental health consumers aged 20-34 (N=16) completed interviews with researchers and consumer investigators with lived experience. Interviews involved questionnaires developed by the consumer-researcher team about the consumer-clinician relationship (Treatment Relationship Inventory; TRI) and quality of life (modified version of the World Health Organization QL assessment; mWHO-QOL). Correlational analyses compared total scores and subsections of the TRI and mWHO-QOL. Average total scores for the TRI and mWHO-QOL were significantly and positively correlated (rs=.555, p=.026). Additionally, specific subsections between the instruments also showed significant correlations (range of rs=.532 to .620, all ps<.05). These pilot findings suggest a strong therapeutic alliance is related to better QL in adolescent and young adult mental health consumers. Additionally, certain characteristics of the therapeutic alliance and QL have a stronger association than others. Further research in collaboration with consumers can help to elucidate the predictive nature of therapeutic alliance on quality of life in early phases of illness and inform more effective approaches to early intervention by targeting aspects of therapeutic alliance early in treatment.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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