Distress, omnipotence and responsibility beliefs in command hallucinations. / Ellett, Lyn; Luzon, Olga; Birchwood, Max; Abbas, Zarina; Harris, Abi; Chadwick, Paul .

In: British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 11.05.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

E-pub ahead of print

Abstract

Objectives

Command hallucinations are considered to be one of the most distressing and disturbing symptoms of schizophrenia. Building on earlier studies, we compare key attributes in the symptomatic, affective, and cognitive profiles of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and hearing voices that do (n = 77) or do not (n = 74) give commands.
Methods

The study employed a cross-sectional design, in which we assessed voice severity, distress and control (PSYRATs), anxiety and depression (HADS), beliefs about voices (BAVQ-R), and responsibility beliefs (RIQ). Clinical and demographic variables were also collected.
Results

Command hallucinations were found to be more distressing and controlling, perceived as more omnipotent and malevolent, linked to higher anxiety and depression, and resisted more than hallucinations without commands. Commanding voices were also associated with higher conviction ratings for being personally responsible for preventing harm.
Conclusions

The findings suggest key differences in the affective and cognitive profiles of people who hear commanding voices, which have important implications for theory and psychological interventions.
Practitioner points

Command hallucinations are associated with higher distress, malevolence, and omnipotence.
Command hallucinations are associated with higher responsibility beliefs for preventing harm.
Responsibility beliefs are associated with voice-related distress.
Future psychological interventions for command hallucinations might benefit from focussing not only on omnipotence, but also on responsibility beliefs, as is done in psychological therapies for obsessive compulsive disorder.
Limitations

The cross-sectional design does not assess issues of causality.
We did not measure the presence or severity of delusions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Early online date11 May 2017
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2017
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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