G. Jordan, A. Malla, S.N. Iyer
Introduction: A first episode of psychosis (FEP) is often a devastating experience leading to immeasurable suffering and negative consequences. However, a FEP may also present an opportunity for positive change and growth, with a recent systematic review showing that persons may experience growth in several ways (e.g., developing a stronger sense of self, improved relationships with others, etc.). One limitation of studies examining growth following FEP thus far is that these studies have examined growth at only point in time. This precludes our understanding of how growth following FEP evolves, is experienced over time; and what factors and processes may sustain such growth. To address this knowledge gap, this presentation will address two research questions: how is growth following FEP sustained over time; and what factors and processes help sustain such growth? Methods: The research questions were answered using a qualitative descriptive approach. Seven participants were recruited from an early intervention service in Montreal and interviewed about their experiences of growth at two time points approximately one year apart. Interviews were subject to thematic analysis. Results: At the first time point, each participant described experiencing growth (i.e., they became more authentic, learned who their true friends were, etc.) and suffering (i.e., disrupted occupational or educational roles, etc.) following the FEP. At the second time point, participants described how their growth had been sustained, but only if they abided by the lessons learned during the FEP and took the steps needed to sustain their own recovery, particularly by engaging with early intervention services for FEP. Implications: Early intervention services can facilitate growth following FEP by helping service users remain engaged in their recovery.