Social disadvantage in early psychosis and its effect on clinical presentation and service access, engagement and use

Eliza Fordham, Caroline X. Gao, Kate Filia, Brian O'Donoghue, Catherine Smith, Shona Francey, Debra Rickwood, Nic Telford, Andrew Thompson, Ellie Brown

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Abstract

Incidence of psychosis varies geographically due to factors such as social disadvantage. Whether this influences the clinical presentation and/or engagement of those experiencing psychosis remains relatively understudied. This study analysed data from young people across Australia accessing ultra-high risk (UHR) or first episode psychosis (FEP) services delivered through the headspace Early Psychosis (hEP) program between June 2017 and March 2021. The cohort was categorised into low, middle, and high tertiles of social disadvantage using the Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD). Data from 3089 participants aged 15–25 were included (1515 UHR, 1574 FEP). The low and middle tertiles for both cohorts had greater percentages of those not in education or employment (NEET), with First Nations or culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Clinical presentations to services were similar across all tertiles in both cohorts, however, functioning at presentation varied significantly within the FEP cohort. Significantly lower numbers of direct services were provided in the low tertile of both cohorts, with significantly poorer engagement in the initial three-months also occurring for these young people. This variation in early psychosis service patterns associated with geographical variation in social deprivation demonstrates the need for further research and fine tuning of national early psychosis services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115478
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume328
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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