A brief report on the characteristics of young male adults experiencing their first episodes of psychosis: Implications for developing specialized first episode programs

Carolyn S Dewa, Robert P. Zipursky, Janet Durbin, Nancy Chau, Paula Goering, Tim Aubry, Donald Wasylenki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objective: This study seeks to contribute to understanding the differences in the characteristics between individuals with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) and first episode of psychosis with an emphasis on the critical components of an early intervention program that differ from components of services for persons with SPMI. Methods: Data compared two treatment cohorts - young males experiencing their first psychotic episode and older males with SPMI. The two cohorts were examined prior to enrollment in intensive community services and compared on diagnoses, symptom severity, service use and psychosocial functioning. Results: There were no between group differences in terms of educational attainment, employment status, legal contacts or diagnoses. Large proportions of both groups were unemployed, did not complete high school, recently had a legal contact and had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Both groups experienced similar levels of overall symptom severity. However, there were significant differences in psychosocial functioning. Conclusion: These data provide information about the strengths and vulnerabilities of male adults experiencing their first psychotic episode. There are similarities between the groups in terms of symptom severity, educational attainment and legal system involvement. However, there are important differences with regard to the strengths or resources available to the two populations that should be considered in designing programs. The results can inform understanding of group differences in service needs and the program structure through which these services might best be delivered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternet Journal of Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Community mental health services
  • Early intervention
  • Education
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Vocational rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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