Identity in mental health: A focus for early intervention and improving social functioning
Personal identity--one's psychological sense of personal continuity--is an important aspect of mental health, informing one's motivations, behaviours, and social relations. Disruptions in identity can contribute to prevalent conditions such as personality disorders. Indeed, distorted identity is a core aspect of personality dysfunction and disorder, contributing to considerable negative health and social outcomes--and a prominent challenge for health care providers and systems. Interventions that strengthen identity during young adulthood may be a potent way to mitigate personality dysfunction, preventing entrenched impairment and setting a course for positive mental health.
This proposal features a novel psychosocial intervention aimed at strengthening identity and reducing personality-related dysfunction among vulnerable young adults--tested in a randomized controlled trial. The intervention is designed for use by non-specialists to maximize transferability and impact on access and quality of care. Building on the applicant's work in maladaptive personality and identity, the project is set within a broader program of research on identity-focused intervention, including within early psychosis and recovery from alcohol misuse.