Pilot Study of Insight Deficits and Social Context in Early Psychosis

Principal Investigator:

Larry Seidman, Ph.D.


Benjamin Brent, M.D., M.S., Anthony Giuliano, Ph.D., Michelle Yakoobian-Friedman Ph.D., and Robert Waldinger, M.D.

Research Assistant:

Elizabeth LaSalvia, M.D.

Study Overview:

We are conducting a study to learn more about how individuals in the early phase of a psychotic illness think about the symptoms of their illness and need for psychiatric treatment. The study will explore the way that patients' beliefs and feelings about having a psychotic illness relate to the perspectives of their family members and to other aspects of patients' social environment.

Study Goals:

  • To learn more about how qualities in family members and the broader social context may impact patients' thoughts and feelings about their illness (i.e., their degree of "insight" into their illness.)
  • To learn about how characteristic of the social context and thinking difficulties (such as problems with memory and attention) together impact patients' insight into illness

What does the study involve?

  • Patients select one parent or primary caregiver to come in on a one-time basis for 3-4 hours of interviews.
  • Patients and family members complete semi-structured interviews and self-reports having to do with beliefs and feelings about psychosis, in addition to completing a brief assessment of thinking abilities.
  • This study is available at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center's Prevention and Recovery from Early Psychosis (PREP) program

Who can participate?

  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophreniform disorder, who live with (or have significant contact with) at least 1 family member who is also interested in participating in the study.
  • Participants must be 18 years old.
  • Participants cannot have dementia, neurodegenerative disease, pervasive developmental disorder, or be recovering from a traumatic brain injury
  • Participants cannot be currently dependent on street drugs or alcohol

For more information, please contact:

Benjamin Brent, M.D, M.S.
Phone: 617-626-9635
Email: bbrent@bidmc.harvard.edu