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Thinking about thinking: an exploration of metacognitive factors in the development and maintenance of positive psychotic symptoms

Thinking about thinking: an exploration of metacognitive factors in the development and maintenance of positive psychotic symptoms
Thinking about thinking: an exploration of metacognitive factors in the development and maintenance of positive psychotic symptoms
The literature review discusses the role of metacognition, defined as the cognitive processes involved in ‘thinking about thinking’, in the development and maintenance of persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. Much of the literature points to a strong role for metacognitive beliefs in the experience of both clinical and non-clinical levels of these symptoms and evidence is emerging too for the importance of metacognitive strategies, for example thought control, in the maintenance of persecutory delusions. Research to date however, has relied predominantly on non-causal correlational methodology to investigate the relationship between metacognition and psychosis. In addition, there is some difficulty in discerning the contribution of metacognition to persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations specifically, owing to combined analysis or inclusion of delusions that are not persecutory or hallucinations that are not auditory. Overall, the findings of this review support the application of the Self- Regulatory Executive Model (S-REF) to the positive symptoms of psychosis and research strongly demonstrates the key role of affective processes in the development and maintenance of clinical and non-clinical persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. The study aimed to explore the role of metacognitive strategies and metacognitive awareness in the maintenance of distress in non-clinical paranoia. A 2x2 between-subject experimental design (paranoia x condition) was employed. Seventy-three non-clinical staff and students participated in the study and were randomised to an experimental condition including an anxiety-inducing task or control condition. All participants completed measures of paranoia, anxiety, self- focus, metacognitive strategies and metacognitive awareness. Results demonstrated that participants with non-clinical paranoia experienced more paranoid cognitions, state and trait anxiety and used significantly more metacognitive strategies, including thought suppression. In addition, there was some evidence for lower metacognitive awareness in participants with high paranoia. These findings were not associated with condition. Future research and clinical implications in relation to the results are discussed.
paranoia, metacognition, anxiety
Norman, Catherine
5bc22eb0-7b71-463d-8fd2-64cb56e50c38
Norman, Catherine
5bc22eb0-7b71-463d-8fd2-64cb56e50c38
Stopa, Lusia
b52f29fc-d1c2-450d-b321-68f95fa22c40
Newman-Taylor, Katherine
b5298b7e-4c24-44a8-acc3-6278e949acd5

(2013) Thinking about thinking: an exploration of metacognitive factors in the development and maintenance of positive psychotic symptoms. University of Southampton, Psychology, Doctoral Thesis, 175pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The literature review discusses the role of metacognition, defined as the cognitive processes involved in ‘thinking about thinking’, in the development and maintenance of persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. Much of the literature points to a strong role for metacognitive beliefs in the experience of both clinical and non-clinical levels of these symptoms and evidence is emerging too for the importance of metacognitive strategies, for example thought control, in the maintenance of persecutory delusions. Research to date however, has relied predominantly on non-causal correlational methodology to investigate the relationship between metacognition and psychosis. In addition, there is some difficulty in discerning the contribution of metacognition to persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations specifically, owing to combined analysis or inclusion of delusions that are not persecutory or hallucinations that are not auditory. Overall, the findings of this review support the application of the Self- Regulatory Executive Model (S-REF) to the positive symptoms of psychosis and research strongly demonstrates the key role of affective processes in the development and maintenance of clinical and non-clinical persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. The study aimed to explore the role of metacognitive strategies and metacognitive awareness in the maintenance of distress in non-clinical paranoia. A 2x2 between-subject experimental design (paranoia x condition) was employed. Seventy-three non-clinical staff and students participated in the study and were randomised to an experimental condition including an anxiety-inducing task or control condition. All participants completed measures of paranoia, anxiety, self- focus, metacognitive strategies and metacognitive awareness. Results demonstrated that participants with non-clinical paranoia experienced more paranoid cognitions, state and trait anxiety and used significantly more metacognitive strategies, including thought suppression. In addition, there was some evidence for lower metacognitive awareness in participants with high paranoia. These findings were not associated with condition. Future research and clinical implications in relation to the results are discussed.

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More information

Published date: May 2013
Keywords: paranoia, metacognition, anxiety
Organisations: University of Southampton, Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 359249
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/359249
PURE UUID: bbbe50b0-41e5-4a3d-9a99-e9456a1e44e7

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Dec 2013 13:17
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 03:22

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Contributors

Author: Catherine Norman
Thesis advisor: Lusia Stopa
Thesis advisor: Katherine Newman-Taylor

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