Developing a theory of the emotional impact of auditory hallucinations: an exploratory study

Close, Helen (1996). Developing a theory of the emotional impact of auditory hallucinations: an exploratory study. PhD thesis The Open University.



This research examines recent developments in the cognitive model of auditory hallucinations ("voices") in people with psychoses. Following the research of Chadwick and Birchwood (1994), data are presented on the behavioural, cognitive and affective responses to persistent voices of thirty participants with psychoses. After testing the reliability of their interview, data is then compared to that of the Chadwick and Birchwood (1994) sample. In addition, the research aimed to develop the cognitive model of the emotional impact of voices by examining further possible associations with participants' self-evaluations, hypothesising that these evaluations are associated with the affective response.

The cognitive assessment of voices shows reasonable inter-rater and test re-test reliability. Compared to the Chadwick and Birchwood (1994) sample, the present sample had a greater proportion of negative affective responses to voices. regardless of their beliefs about the voices' benevolence or malevolence. Participants in this sample were less likely to endorse the voices' omnipotence or omniscience. Similarities were shown in behavioural responses and factors reported as proof of the voices' potential power.

Although it was not possible to explore the associations between the content of voices, affective responses, self-evaluations and distress due to a preponderance of negative affective responses in this sample, nevertheless, it was possible to describe these responses. Participants in this sample had a predominantly negative content to their voices. Those who were able to access a personal meaning were found to have, predominantly, negative personal meanings, low self esteem and moderate distress as measured by standardised instruments.

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