Appraisals of experimental analogues of psychotic symptoms in individuals with psychotic experiences with and without a 'need for care

Presentation First Author: 
Emmanuelle Peters

Background: People displaying persistent psychotic experiences without a need-for-care in the general population are an ideal group to investigate to differentiate those factors that are linked to distress and dysfunction from those that are merely associated with benign anomalous experiences. Cognitive models of psychosis propose that 'appraisals are key to determining the transition from anomalous experience to psychotic symptom. Our pilot studies (Brett et al, 2007; Ward et al, 2013) showed that psychotic patients and help-seeking at-risk individuals are more likely to think their experiences are caused by someone else ('personalising appraisals), and less likely to have 'normalising/psychological appraisals (eg that they are part of the normal range of human experience), than individuals displaying psychotic-like experiences without a 'need-for-care. Personalising appraisals in turn are predictive of more distress, and normalising/psychological appraisals of less distress (Brett, Heriot-Maitland et al, 2014). Method: 210 individuals were recruited (70 'need-for-care; 70 non need-for-care; 70 controls) from urban (South-East London) and rural (North Wales) sites. The three groups appraisals were compared following three experimental tasks inducing anomalous experiences (of thought interference symptoms and auditory hallucinations). Results: It was predicted that the clinical group would endorse more maladaptive appraisals than the non-need for care group, who would not differ from the controls. A similar pattern was predicted for salience, distress and threat ratings of the experimentally-induced anomalous experiences, and likelihood to incorporate the experimental set-up into their ongoing experiences. Conclusions: The study findings will be discussed within the context of protective factors against transition to psychosis.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Thomas Ward - Mike Jackson - Philippa Garety
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