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The process of recovery from a first episode of schizophrenia: How is it described?

Nursing Research at Mount Sinai
 
PhD Candidate

Donna Romano, RN., PhD (c), Mount Sinai Hospital
 

Thesis Supervisor(s)

Dr. Paula Goering, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Dr. Elizabeth McCay, Ryerson University.  Thesis Committee Members: Dr. Katherine Boydell, Dr. Robert Zipursky
 

Purpose

It is clear from the literature that there are two major approaches to how recovery from schizophrenia is described. An empirical approach, that uses objective outcome measures in order to assess an individual’s symptom severity and level of functioning. A second approach, relates to understanding the subjective nature of recovery from individuals experiencing it.

Despite the many new advances in understanding and treating schizophrenia that has evolved from both of these approaches, little consensus has occurred regarding the nature of the process of recovery from a first episode of schizophrenia. To date, an in-depth qualitative study focused on understanding the recovery process from a first episode of schizophrenia has not been undertaken. This qualitative study used Charmaz’s (1990) constructivist grounded theory methodology to develop a substantive theory concerning the subjective experience of recovery from a first episode of schizophrenia.
 

Research Questions

The following questions guided this study: How do individuals who have experienced a first episode of schizophrenia describe their process of recovery? How does an identified key informant (e.g. friend, family member, teacher, or clinician) describe their role during the participant’s process of recovery, and their perception of the recovery process?
 

Methods

Ten primary participants (who self-identified as recovering from a first episode of schizophrenia) and ten secondary participants were interviewed twice, for a total of 30 interviews. Both sets of participants were interviewed using an in-depth semi-structured interview guide. A photograph was also taken of the primary participant’s hands holding a self-selected personal object that symbolized their recovery. Interviews were audio taped, transcribed verbatim, and entered into a computer program for data organization. Data was analyzed according to Charmaz’s (2006) grounded theory methodology.
 

Conclusions

The anticipated results of this study are to provide a theoretical understanding of a process of recovery has been identified for individuals who experienced a first episode of schizophrenia. Factors that facilitate and hinder the recovery process will be highlighted for this patient population.
 

Contact Information

Donna Romano
dromano@mtsinai.on.ca