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Recent research indicates that there may be phenomenological, symptom, and diagnostic associations between trauma and hallucinations. However, the nature of the relationship is poorly understood from a psychological perspective. We report a theoretically informed phenomenological study. From descriptions of reported traumas and hallucinations, we assessed the rates of four types of hypothesized association between traumas and hallucinations (direct, indirect, stress, and none) in 75 participants with nonaffective psychosis. In a subgroup who had experienced trauma (N = 40), 12.5% had hallucinations with similar themes and content to their traumas, 45% had hallucinations in which the themes were the same but not the content, and 42.5% had no identifiable associations between their hallucinations and previously experienced trauma. Traumas rated as intrusive were significantly associated with hallucinations rated as intrusive, although intrusive hallucinations were not associated with traumas in general. The traumas most likely to be associated with hallucinations were sexual abuse and bullying.

Type

Journal

J Nerv Ment Dis

Publication Date

08/2005

Volume

193

Pages

501 - 507

Keywords

Accidents, Adult, Child, Child Abuse, Sexual, Combat Disorders, Female, Hallucinations, Humans, Life Change Events, Male, Models, Psychological, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Psychotic Disorders, Reproducibility of Results, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Surveys and Questionnaires, Violence