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25-12-2019 | Review | Uitgave 9/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2020

Family Experiences Prior to the Initiation of Care for First-Episode Psychosis: A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Studies

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2020
Oladunni Oluwoye, Sunny Chieh Cheng, Elizabeth Fraser, Bryony Stokes, Michael G. McDonell
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This study systematically reviewed existing qualitative evidence of family members’ experiences prior to the initiation of mental health services for a loved one experiencing their first episode of psychosis (FEP).


A meta-synthesis review of published peer-reviewed qualitative studies conducted between 2010 and 2019 were included. Keyword searches were performed in four electronic databases and the reference lists of primary manuscripts. Two independent reviewers used the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) qualitative checklist to assess methodological quality of each study.


A total of 365 articles were initially identified and 9 were articles identified in a secondary review and literature search. A total of 21 met inclusion criteria. Of those included in this review 169, mothers were the primary family to recall experiences. The meta-synthesis identified four major themes related to family member experiences prior to the initiation of mental health services for FEP: the misinterpretation of signs, the emotional impact of FEP on family members, the effect of stigma on family members, and engaging with resources prior to mental health services for FEP.


Additional research is needed to develop healthy communication strategies that effectively deliver educational information about psychosis. This meta-synthesis also identified the need to understand help-seeking behaviors among families of those with FEP in effort to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis and improve pathways to care often initiated by a family member.

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