Cognitive and emotional processes in persecutory delusions

Prof Doc Thesis

Flood, Anneline D. C. 2013. Cognitive and emotional processes in persecutory delusions. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsFlood, Anneline D. C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Reliable and detailed descriptions of the content and emotions associated with persecutory delusions have been emphasized as important for the foundation of effective theoretical development and clinical practice. Two studies have directly examined these associations in persecutory ideation (Green et al., 2006; Freeman et al., 2001), and found details of content to be associated with depression and anxiety.
The aim of this study is to partially replicate and extend previous research by exploring possible associations between specific emotions and content. Six research hypotheses were examined. It is hypothesised that the details of content such as the power of the persecutor as rated by the participant would be associated with depression and anxiety, deservedness would be associated with anger and shame and the participants‟ ability to cope would be associated with shame and depression.
Thirty-seven participants experiencing persecutory delusions were recruited from inpatient and outpatient locations within a specific NHS Trust. Five measures that assessed persecutory delusional content and emotional responses were completed. This included a novel assessment tool developed for this study.
Results of this study failed to support five of the six research hypotheses as no associations were found between content of persecutory delusions and specific emotions. In fact, it was found that there was a slight trend of the relationship being in the opposite direction to that predicted.
Findings of this study have a few implications for contemporary approaches to persecutory delusions. It suggests that there are gaps in our understanding and examination of persecutory delusions. Additionally it could mean that the theories of persecutory delusions which emphasize emotions should be revised.

Keywordspersecutory delusions; persecutory ideation
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintFeb 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Jul 2013
Publisher's version
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