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First Episode Psychosis: The experience of parent caregivers Open Access


Other title
parent caregivers
First episode psychosis
Heideggeriam Phenomenology
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hamilton Wilson, Jane Elizabeth
Supervisor and department
Dr. Sherrill Conroy ( Faculty of Nursing)
Examining committee member and department
Breitkreuz, Rhonda ( Human Ecology
Cameron, Brenda ( Faculty of Nurisng)
Duggleby, Wendy ( Faculty of Nursing)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Psychosis is a serious but treatable psychiatric disorder, characterized by changes in perceptions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviours. Each year in Canada, as many as 10,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 30 years of age, may experience their first episode of psychosis (CMHA, 2005). Certainly the emergence of psychotic illness is a distressing and confusing time, not only for young persons experiencing these perplexing changes but also for their parents. The family and in particular the parents, play a critical role in early intervention for psychosis, both as a vehicle for early identification and treatment, and as a supportive context for recovery. An interpretive phenomenological inquiry was undertaken to answer the primary research question: How do parent caregivers experience first episode psychosis in their young adult child? The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to understand the lived experience of parents involved in caregiving for a young son or daughter who is experiencing first episode psychosis (FEP) and 2) to utilize the research Pathway and Hermeneutical Principles of Research (HPR) originally formulated, tested and amplified by Dr. Sherrill Conroy (2003) as the guiding method for accomplishing research predicated on Heideggerian philosophy. In this Heideggerian interpretive phenomenological study, the meaning and experiences of nine parent caregivers with a young adult son or daughter with first episode psychosis were explored. Data were collected through conversations with mothers and fathers whose young adult children were involved with a specialized early psychosis intervention program in southwest Ontario. The nature of the meaning of the parent caregivers’ experience led to uncovering four distinct stories: a story of Protection; a story of Loss; a story of Stigma; and a final story of Enduring Love. The findings of this inquiry help to illuminate and bring awareness to what it means to be parents of a young adult child newly diagnosed with psychotic illness. I illuminate how healthcare providers and nurses in particular can have more discretion, insight and discernment in clinical approaches with parent and family initiatives within early psychosis intervention programs. The findings of this inquiry may also serve to shape future policies, which will recognize and affirm the strengths and resilient capacities of parent caregivers.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Microsoft Word - Final Dissertation May 17 .docx
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