Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice - Early View Articles, Pages ${blockparams.parentJournalIssue.pageRange}

Shame, social deprivation, and the quality of the voice‐hearing relationship

Objectives Many individuals hold different beliefs about the voices that they hear and have distinct relationships with them, the nature of which may determine the distress experienced. Understanding what factors contribute to these beliefs and relationships and consequently the resulting distress is important. The current research examined whether shame and social deprivation, in a sample of adult voice‐hearers, were related to the relationships that individuals had with their voices or the beliefs that they held about them. Design The study utilized a cross‐sectional, Internet‐based design. Methods Eighty‐seven adult voice‐hearers from England were recruited to the online survey. Participants completed measures regarding shame, beliefs about voices, and relationships with voices and provided demographic information and postcodes that were used to refer to Index of Multiple Deprivation data. Results Social deprivation and shame were not associated. Shame was positively associated with variables describing negative voice‐hearing beliefs/relationships but not positive voice‐hearing beliefs/relationships. Principal component analysis on the eight voice‐hearing variables yielded two components related to positive and negative voice‐hearing qualities. A multiple regression conducted on the two components identified that shame was only associated with negative voice‐hearing qualities. Conclusions The results suggest that therapies that target shame may be helpful when working with negative voice‐hearing beliefs and relationships. Future research should utilize experimental or longitudinal designs to examine the direction of the relationship. Practitioner points The results contribute to the limited research evidence available regarding the relationship between shame and voice‐hearing. The results suggest the utility of psychological therapies that focus on shame such as compassion‐focused therapy and that conceptualize voices interpersonally such as cognitive analytic therapy. No conclusions can be made regarding causation. The sample size was relatively small, and results cannot be generalized to other areas of the United Kingdom. Future research should utilize experimental and longitudinal designs to examine the impact of shame on voice‐hearing experiences and to examine other factors that may predict shame.

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