Hearing voices in young people: distress factors, social relating and clinician attitudes

Rammou, Aikaterini (2021) Hearing voices in young people: distress factors, social relating and clinician attitudes. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Psychological models in adults have indicated several factors that might play a role in maintaining the distress associated with hearing voices, including negative interrelating between the hearer and the voices and persecutory beliefs about the voices. Additionally, negative relating with voices can be mirrored in the difficult relationships that hearers have with social others. By contrast, little is known about distressing voice-hearing in young people and its possible links with social relating. This thesis focuses on young people’s experiences of voice-hearing and on clinicians’ attitudes working with young people distressed by voice-hearing. It aims to provide preliminary evidence on the factors that contribute to voice-related distress and the association between voice-hearing and young people’s social relating. Clinicians’ attitudes and responses to voice-hearing in youth are also explored.

This thesis begins with an introduction to the research area (Chapter 1), followed by a cross-sectional survey study of adolescents (N=34) which tested hypotheses deriving from cognitive-behavioural models of voice-related distress developed with adults (Chapter 2). Next, a case-control study investigated how social relating may differ for young voice-hearers (N= 34) in comparison to non-voice-hearers (N= 34), all receiving care from secondary mental health services (Chapter 3). Last, an online survey using a national UK sample of mental health and primary care clinicians (N =1751) examined the correlates of clinicians’ intention to assess voice-hearing experiences in young compared to adult patient populations, clinicians’ attitudes toward working with voice-hearers and their confidence in performing voice-related practices (Chapter 4).

The young people studies revealed a potential role for styles of relating to voices and beliefs about voices in maintaining distress. Although relating to voices did not mirror the way young voice-hearers related to social others, their overall relating style was more negative compared to non-voice-hearing peers. Considering current clinical practice, findings highlight the importance of clinicians’ perceptions of their colleagues’ attitudes and actions on their intention to assess voices and the potentially helpful role of a structured tool to guide in-depth conversations with young voice-hearers. Implications for the provision of community mental health services and psychological therapies for young people experiencing distressing voices are discussed (Chapter 5).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0231 Sensation. Aesthesiology > BF0251 Special senses. Hearing. Auditory perception
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0712 Developmental psychology Including infant psychology, child psychology, adolescence, adulthood > BF0724 Adolesence. Youth
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2021 09:08
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 09:08
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/101449

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