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Prevalence and nature of multi-sensory and multi-modal hallucinations in people with first episode psychosis

Dudley, Robert and Watson, Florence and O'Grady, Lucy and Aynsworth, Charlotte and Dodgson, Guy and Common, Stephanie and Day, Ben-Alderson and Fernyhough, Charles (2023) 'Prevalence and nature of multi-sensory and multi-modal hallucinations in people with first episode psychosis.', Psychiatry Research, 319 (2023).


Hallucinations can occur in single or multiple sensory modalities. This study explored how common these experiences were in people with first episode of psychosis (n = 82). Particular attention was paid to the number of modalities reported and whether the experiences were seen to be linked temporally and thematically. It was predicted that those people reporting a greater number of hallucinations would report more delusional ideation, greater levels of distress generally and lower functioning. All participants reported hallucinations in the auditory domain, given the nature of the recruitment. The participants also reported a range of other unusual sensory experiences, with visual and tactile hallucinations being reported by over half. Moreover, single sensory experiences or unimodal hallucinations were less common than two or more hallucination modalities which was reported by 78% of the participants. The number of hallucinations was significantly associated with greater delusional ideation and higher levels of general distress, but not with reduced functioning. It is clear there is a need to refine psychological treatments so that they are better matched to the actual experiences reported by people with psychosis. Theoretical implications are also considered.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Publisher statement:This is an open access article under the CC BY license
Date accepted:26 November 2022
Date deposited:06 February 2023
Date of first online publication:02 December 2022
Date first made open access:06 February 2023

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