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First Episode Psychosis in British South Asians: Exploring the sibling’s lived experience

Sethi, Ritu (2021). First Episode Psychosis in British South Asians: Exploring the sibling’s lived experience. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Psychosis has been characterised as the experience of a loss of contact with reality and severe changes in self-experience. Research has illustrated that a first episode of psychosis (FEP) is a distressing experience, not only for the individual but also their loved ones. Siblings play a crucial role in supporting their loved one during an onset of psychosis; however, they are emotionally impacted by this experience and have their own needs. A critical literature review on sibling experiences of having a brother or sister with a FEP revealed an apparent gap in the existing knowledge base, as this phenomenon appears to be under-researched within the United Kingdom. In particular, the experiential realities of siblings have not been explored at all within the British South Asian community. This is surprising, considering that the prevalence of psychosis appears to be higher within this population when compared to the indigenous community. It is therefore crucial to deepen our understanding of how siblings who identify as British South Asian make sense of their experiences and what impact this has on them.

By adopting a phenomenological approach, the current study has attempted to expand on the literature base by answering the following research question: How do second-generation British South Asians experience having a sibling with a first episode of psychosis?

Six participants were recruited through volunteer sampling and participated in semi-structured interviews. These interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The analysis rendered novel findings which are depicted through three superordinate themes: ‘An Emotional Storm: conflicting feelings leading to a sense of overwhelm’; ‘Avoidance vs. Approach’; and ‘“It’s shown me who I am”: awareness of growth and transformation’.

This research hopes to provide further insight and increase knowledge in a relatively under-researched field and give voice to a marginalised group.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: Doctoral Theses
City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
[thumbnail of Ritu Sethi DPsych Portfolio 2021.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
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