Reducing the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) is a key aim of early psychosis (EP) care. However, substantial variability in how the start and end points of DUP are defined impact its utility in clinical decision-making, and as an outcome measure. In this study, qualitative interviews were conducted with providers to assess how EP services and providers define, operationalize, and measure DUP. Twenty-five providers across 14 clinics were interviewed. Participants emphasized symptom frequency, conviction, distress caused, and impact when determining psychosis onset. DUP endpoint was typically identified as the first assessment in an episode of care that included an accurate diagnosis, leading to specialty EP treatment. Participants proposed a more structured operationalization of DUP, relative to those historically adopted in the literature. Integrating front-line provider perspectives could improve the accuracy of DUP measurement and address the heterogeneity in how the construct is operationalized across research and practice.
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The authors would like to thank all participants who agreed to be interviewed.
This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (grant number MH018261-31, PI: Pfiffner) and the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Committee (grant number 14MHSOAC010; PI: Niendam).
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