Beliefs About the Causes of Psychosis Among Persons With Psychosis and Mental Health Professionals: A Scoping Review

Rotem Rosenthal Oren, David Roe, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Stephanie Roth, Elizabeth C. Thomas, Yaara Zisman-Ilani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The beliefs that people with psychosis hold about causes of their illness (causal beliefs) can affect their choice to adhere to treatment and engage in mental health services. However, less is known about causal beliefs of mental health professionals (MHPs) and their impact on treatment adherence and service engagement. This review explored literature focusing on MHPs' causal beliefs and mapped the degree of concordance between their causal beliefs and those of people with psychosis. METHODS: A systematic literature search of PubMed, Embase, Scopus, PsycINFO, and Applied Social Sciences Index Abstracts and a gray-literature search of PsyArXiv and MedNar yielded 11,821 eligible references. The first author reviewed all titles and abstracts, and the coauthors reviewed 10% (N=1,200). RESULTS: Forty-two articles were included. Most articles indicated that MHPs tend to endorse biogenetic beliefs (9 of 15 articles assessing MHPs' beliefs, 60%), whereas people with psychosis tend to endorse psychosocial beliefs (16 of 31 articles, 52%) and other nonbiogenetic beliefs (in 8 of 31 articles, 26%). Most studies did not compare causal beliefs of people with psychosis and their treating MHP. Studies varied in design, setting, and measures. CONCLUSIONS: MHPs and people with psychosis often hold complex views composed of different types of causal beliefs. However, a gap in causal beliefs between these groups appears to exist, which may affect the therapeutic relationship and pose barriers to treatment adherence. Future studies should address this gap by developing interventions that facilitate open communication about causal beliefs to promote treatment alliance and shared decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1178-1192
Number of pages15
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Cognitive therapy
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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