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Multimodal versus unimodal auditory hallucinations in clinical practice: Clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes

Badcock, J.C., Brand, R., Thomas, N., Hayward, M. and Paulik, G. (2021) Multimodal versus unimodal auditory hallucinations in clinical practice: Clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes. Psychiatry Research, 297 . Art. 113754.

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Psychological treatments for hallucinations typically target auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) but neglect the influence of hallucinations in other sensory modalities. This study compared the baseline clinical characteristics and therapeutic outcomes (following brief Coping Strategy Enhancement) of adult clients (N = 100) with multimodal or unimodal (auditory) hallucinations attending an outpatient service for distressing AVH. The results showed that 72.1% of clients reported multimodal hallucinations in the past month. Group comparisons of most baseline clinical characteristics (AVH features, beliefs about AVH, number of traumatic events, personal and social functioning, negative affect) were non-significant. However, in the subgroup (N = 65) reporting ongoing effects of traumatic events, those with multimodal hallucinations reported significantly higher posttraumatic stress symptoms (d = 0.62). Notably, both multimodal and unimodal hallucination groups showed improvement in AVH distress and frequency post-treatment, but group differences in treatment outcomes were not significant. These findings, in a naturalistic service setting, confirm that multimodal hallucinations are common in people seeking help for distressing AVH and may be associated with higher levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Importantly, they also suggest that psychological therapy may be suitable and effective for clients experiencing AVH – irrespective of the presence of hallucinations in other sensory modalities.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier B.V.
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