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BACKGROUND: Many people hear voices but do not access psychiatric services and their experiences are largely unknown, not least because of the difficulty in contacting such people. This study investigates the beliefs held about voices, distress experienced, and provides a topographical account of the experience of hearing voices in a sample of individuals who hear voices in a non-psychiatric population. METHOD: A quantitative questionnaire internet-based study with a within-subjects and between-subjects design was used. The internet was used to make contact with people who hear voices. One hundred and eighty-four participants in the general population who heard voices completed measures online assessing anxiety, depression, and beliefs about their dominant voice. RESULTS: Participants reported a broad range of experiences associated with hearing voices, some in keeping with the previous research on clinical populations. CONCLUSION: The use of the internet to recruit and research non-clinical samples of people who hear voices is supported. This study provides details regarding demographic information and the experience of voice hearing from a fairly large sample of people who hear voices in a non-psychiatric population. It lends support to the idea that voice hearing occurs on a continuum, with evidence that many people hear voices in the general population and are not distressed by the experience.

Original publication

DOI

10.1017/s1352465810000172

Type

Journal article

Journal

Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy

Publication Date

05/2010

Volume

38

Pages

363 - 373

Addresses

Solihull Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, UK.

Keywords

Humans, Hallucinations, Population Surveillance, Questionnaires, Affect, Schizophrenia, Adult, Attitude to Health, Culture, Female, Male