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First-Time Primary Caregivers’ Experience of Caring for Young Adults With First-Episode Psychosis

By Terence V. McCann, Dan I. Lubman and Eileen Clark


Becoming a carer is associated with physical, emotional, and financial hardship, with caregivers often experiencing a maelstrom of emotions as they struggle to understand what has happened to their loved one. While the burden of caring for young people with first-episode psychosis (FEP) has been well documented, much less is known about how carers develop the strength and resilience to continue caring. This qualitative study aimed to understand the experience of 20 first-time primary caregivers of young adults with FEP. Most caregivers were female (85%, n = 17) and parents (85%, n = 17). The average length of involvement as a caregiver at an FEP service was 14.5 months. Six main themes were identified in the data, highlighting the carers’ experience in supporting young adults with FEP. Caregiving is a burdensome responsibility and is characterized as a roller coaster and unpredictable experience. Caregivers often feel responsible for the young person's illness; however, eventually most come to terms with the changes that have occurred in the young person with FEP. As a consequence of the illness, the relationship between caregiver and care recipient frequently becomes closer and deeper, although it is important that they both maintain hope for the future. These findings provide important insights into the experiences of first-time caregivers of young people with FEP, with direct implications for improving the information and support given to caregivers by FEP services, as well as the development of interventions that effectively address the unique challenges caregivers face following the onset of FEP

Topics: Regular Articles
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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