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Visual Hallucinations in Older People: Appraisals but not Content or Phenomenology Influence Distress

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephanie Lai, Daniel Collerton


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Background: A previous study (Gauntlett-Gilbert and Kuipers, 2005) has suggested that distress associated with complex visual hallucinations (CVHs) in younger adults with psychosis may more strongly relate to appraisals of meaning than to the content of the hallucination. However, visual hallucinations are most commonly seen in the disorders of later life, where this relationship has not been investigated. Aim: To establish if there is a relationship between appraisals of CVHs and distress in older, non-psychotic people with CVHs. Method: All variables were measured using a semi-structured interview and were compared between a high distress group (n = 16) and a low distress group (n = 19). Results: The high distress group rated their hallucinations as more malevolent and omnipotent, with greater negative implications for physical and mental health. There was no significant difference between groups on ratings of hallucination content (independently rated), frequency, awareness or control. Conclusion: Appraisals of CVHs are linked to distress.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lai S, Bruce V, Collerton D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Year: 2016

Volume: 44

Issue: 6

Pages: 705-710

Print publication date: 01/11/2016

Online publication date: 04/11/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1352-4658

ISSN (electronic): 1469-1833

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1352465815000727


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