Coping with family stress in individuals at clinical high-risk for psychosis

Claire I. Yee*, Tina Gupta, Vijay A. Mittal, Claudia M. Haase

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Despite the long-emphasized role of the family environment in the schizophrenia literature, coping with family stress has been neglected in research on the psychosis risk period. Methods: The sample consisted of 75 youth at clinical high-risk (CHR) for psychosis and 79 matched healthy controls who reported on their use of engagement and disengagement coping strategies in response to stress with parents and perceived social support (i.e., advice availability, family support and strain). Participants were also assessed for clinical symptoms. Results: Individuals at CHR reported similar levels of engagement strategies (e.g., emotion regulation, positive thinking) and more frequent use of disengagement strategies (e.g., avoidance, denial) compared to healthy controls. In individuals at CHR (as well as healthy controls), greater use of engagement strategies predicted greater perceptions of availability of advice support, whereas greater employment of disengagement strategies predicted lower perceived social support from the family and greater family strain. In individuals at CHR (as well as healthy controls), engagement strategies were not linked to any clinical outcomes, whereas disengagement strategies were closely tied to anxiety and depression (but not psychosis symptoms in individuals at CHR). Conclusions: Individuals at CHR appeared to engage the same amount as controls, but disengage more often when coping with family stress; this pattern was linked to perceptions of social support and tied to a putative family environment as well as clinical phenomenology. The findings have implications for targeting interventions for CHR populations during a vulnerable period for stress and social change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-228
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Coping
  • Family
  • Prodrome
  • Psychosis
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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