The impact of dysfunctional coping strategies during the prodromal phase of psychosis has recently been explored by several studies. What has yet to be clarified is whether maladaptive coping is evident in the prodromal phase and the impact that this might have on symptomatic and functional outcomes. The aim of this study was to review the findings on coping in individuals at ultra‐high risk of psychosis (UHR) in relation to symptoms and level of functioning.
Original articles were identified by searching 7 databases using the terms “prodrom,” “ultra high risk,” “clinical high risk,” “at‐risk mental state,” “coping style,” “coping strategies,” “cope,” “coping” and “psychosis”. We included original articles that: (1) reported a measure of coping and (2) evaluated UHR individuals.
A total of 9 original articles of 335 that examined coping in individuals at high risk of psychosis were included. UHR subjects were more likely to use maladaptive coping strategies than healthy controls and were more likely to use emotion‐focussed than task‐oriented coping. Maladaptive coping was associated with higher levels of negative symptoms, whereas positive coping was associated with fewer negative symptoms. The coping style employed by UHR individuals was found to negatively influence their psychosocial functioning.
It is still unclear whether coping heightens or reduces the likelihood of transition to psychosis in relation to other factors, including environment. Longitudinal studies could clarify whether coping styles remain stable after the onset of psychosis or whether the emerging psychotic symptoms influence the coping strategies.
Louise Mian, Guido Maria Lattanzi, Stefania Tognin
Early Intervention in Psychiatry, Volume 12, Issue 4, August 2018