Positive and meaningful lives: Systematic review and meta-analysis of eudaimonic well-being in first-episode psychosis

John F.M. Gleeson, Dina Eleftheriadis, Olga Santesteban-Echarri, Peter Koval, Brock Bastian, David L. Penn, Michelle H. Lim, Richard M. Ryan, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: First-episode psychosis typically has its onset during adolescence. Prolonged deficits in social functioning are common in FEP and yet often variance in functioning remains unexplained. Developmental psychology frameworks may be useful for understanding these deficits. Eudaimonic well-being (EWB), or positive self-development, is a developmental psychology construct that has been shown to predict mental health outcomes across multiple populations but has not been systematically reviewed in FEP. Aim: Our aim was to systematically review the evidence for: the predictors of EWB, the effectiveness of EWB interventions and to examine the quality of this research in FEP. Methods: Selected studies measured either composite or components of EWB. A systematic search produced 2876 abstracts and 122 articles were identified for full screening which produced 17 final papers with 2459 participants. Results: Studies comprised six RCTs, eight prospective follow-up studies and three case-controlled studies. Self-esteem and self-efficacy were the most commonly measured components. A meta-analysis of RCTs revealed no statistically significant effect of interventions on self-esteem. The extant research indicates that character strengths may be associated with higher EWB. Self-esteem may be lower in FEP compared with age matched controls but not different from ultra-high risk patients. Self-esteem appears to be associated with poorer insight and improved therapeutic alliance. Significant problems with both external and internal validity of reviewed studies were apparent. Conclusions: The hypotheses that lowered EWB is a risk factor for both onset of FEP and for poorer functional outcomes warrant further investigation. There is currently no evidence for effective interventions for EWB in FEP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1091
Number of pages20
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd


  • early psychosis
  • eudaimonia
  • psychological well-being
  • self-determination
  • self-esteem


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