The purpose of this study is to develop a theoretical explanation of the prodromal schizophrenia process, or so-called psychosis risk syndrome, by describing patients’ own experiences with symptoms, thoughts and feelings.Methods
A total of 40 interviews were conducted in Taiwan. A Grounded Theory method was selected because of its demonstrated effectiveness in generating theory around dynamic and complex processes on which little is known, all of which is the case with psychosis risk syndrome. Constant comparison analysis, memo writing, member checking, and theoretical sampling were adopted.Results
A core theoretical framework was developed in which the process of the psychosis risk syndrome is described as proceeding from manageable to uncontrollable. Four stages emerged from the analysis: (1) something is wrong, (2) boiling up, (3) breaking point, and (4) losing control.Conclusions
The framework resulting from this Grounded Theory research is innovative in presenting patterns and clinical staging that marks the progression from premorbid stage to full-blown psychosis. In addition to specifying the detailed process through in-depth interviews, this research makes two fundamental contributions by: (1) adding evidence to current science and (2) taking patients’ experience into consideration to improve the validity of screening tools and design appropriate intervention programs for people with early warning signs of developing schizophrenia.