The current study examined the relationship between the family environment and symptoms and functioning over time in a group of adolescents and young adults at clinical high risk for psychosis (N=63). The current study compared the ability of interview-based versus self-report ratings of the family environment to predict the severity of prodromal symptoms and functioning over time. The family environmental factors were measured by interviewer ratings of the Camberwell Family Interview (CFI), self-report questionnaires surveying the patient's perceptions of criticism and warmth, and parent reported perceptions of their own level of criticism and warmth. Patients living in a critical family environment, as measured by the CFI at baseline, exhibited significantly worse positive symptoms at a 6-month follow-up, relative to patients living in a low-key family environment. In terms of protective effects, warmth and an optimal level of family involvement interacted such that the two jointly predicted improved functioning at the 6-month follow-up. Overall, both interview-based and self-report ratings of the family environment were predictive of symptoms and functioning at follow-up; however patient's self-report ratings of criticism had stronger predictive power. These results suggest that the family environment should be a specific target of treatment for individuals at risk for psychosis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the following grants: NARSAD Young Investigator Award (MPO), NARSAD Young Investigator Award (CEB), NIMH MH65079 (TDC), NIMH MH066286 (TDC), as well as donations from the Rutherford Charitable Foundation and Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health (TDC), and a gift by the Lazslo N. Tauber Family Foundation. The funding sources had no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
- Expressed emotion
- Family environment
- Ultra high risk