Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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psychotic-like-experiences-trajectories-and-typologies-of-hallucinations-and-delusions-from-early-adolescence-to-early-adulthood-in-a-population-based-sample-of-irish-youth.pdf (269.69 kB)

Psychotic-like experiences? Trajectories and typologies of hallucinations and delusions from early adolescence to early adulthood in a population-based sample of Irish youth

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posted on 2022-01-28, 15:28 authored by Helen CoughlanHelen Coughlan, Niamh HumphriesNiamh Humphries, Mary ClarkeMary Clarke, Colm Healy, Mary CannonMary Cannon

Objectives: Hallucinations and delusions that occur in the absence of a psychotic disorder are common in children and adolescents. Longitudinal phenomenological studies exploring these experiences are notably lacking. The objective of the current paper was to explore the phenomenology and characteristics of hallucinations and delusions from early adolescence to early adulthood.

Methods: Participants were 17 young people aged 18-21 years from the general population, all of whom had a history of childhood hallucinations and/or delusions. Longitudinal data on the phenomenological characteristics and attributions of reported hallucinatory and delusional phenomena spanning nine years were explored using content analysis.

Results: Hallucinatory and delusional phenomena were transient for two-thirds of the sample. The remaining one-third reported reoccurring hallucinatory and delusional phenomena into early adulthood. In those, two typologies were identified: (1) Paranormal typology and (2) Pathological typology. The former was characterised by hallucinatory and delusional phenomena that were exclusively grounded in subcultural paranormal or spiritual belief systems and not a source of distress. The latter was characterised by delusion-like beliefs that were enmeshed with individuals' mood states and a source of distress. The perceived source, the subcultural context and how young people appraised and integrated their experiences differentiated the Paranormal and Pathological typologies.

Conclusions: Not all hallucinatory and delusion-like experiences are psychotic-like in nature. To reliably differentiate between pathological and non-pathological hallucinations and delusions, assessments need to explore factors including the phenomenology of individuals' experiences, how people make sense and appraise them, and the subcultural contexts within which they are experienced.

Funding

Health Research Board (HPF-2015–974; EIA-2017; HRA-2015)

European Research Council (ERC-2016-COG-724809)

History

Comments

The original article is available at https://www.cambridge.org/

Published Citation

Coughlan H, Humphries N, Clarke MC, Healy C, Cannon M. Psychotic-like experiences? Trajectories and typologies of hallucinations and delusions from early adolescence to early adulthood in a population-based sample of Irish youth. Ir J Psychol Med. 2021:1-16

Publication Date

10 May 2021

PubMed ID

33969817

Department/Unit

  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Health Psychology
  • Psychiatry

Research Area

  • Population Health and Health Services
  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Version

  • Published Version (Version of Record)