Influence of Family Functioning on Youth at High Risk for Psychosis

couple going to therapy
couple going to therapy
For youth with a clinically high risk for psychosis, disorganized and negative symptoms may be reduced with parental warmth, positive remarks, and involvement.

Family functioning may be a meaningful factor for young individuals with a clinically high risk for psychosis, according to findings published in Schizophrenia Research.

The study included 52 children and young adults between the ages of 12 and 22 years classified as clinically high risk for psychosis. The researchers relied on Structured Interview for Psychosis-risk Syndromes (SIPS), the Family Assessment Device, and General Functioning Scale to assess participants.

A SIPS positive symptom total was a strong predictor of social and role functioning scores. The perception of family functioning did not directly influence social functioning but was positively related to role functioning. The relationship between perceived family functioning and a SIPS positive score, however, correlated with the prediction of role functioning (t[48]=2.70, P =.01, f2=0.15) and social functioning (t[48]=2.01, P =.051, f2=0.08). This relationship suggests that the effect of SIPS positive symptoms on role and social functioning are reliant on the quantity of family functioning.

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“Results from this study indicate that psychosis-spectrum symptoms were conditionally related to impairment in social and role functioning among our sample of individuals at [clinically high risk],” researchers concluded. They encouraged family-focused therapy geared toward increasing family function for at-risk youth.


Thompson E, Rakhshan P, Pitts SC, et al. Family functioning moderates the impact of psychosis-risk symptoms on social and role functioning [published online September 8, 2018]. Schizophr Res. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.08.035