Trauma, dissociation and psychosis : investigating the role of cognitive inhibition during threat processing

Scane, Christopher Michael

Clinical psychology
July 2016

Thesis or dissertation

© 2016 Christopher Michael Scane. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This Portfolio Thesis comprises three parts. Parts one and two are conceptually linked by their focus on the effect of anxiety on cognitive processes in psychosis.

Part one is a systematic literature review. Biological views of psychoses such schizophrenia still dominate, but more recently research into the psychological aspects of psychosis has burgeoned. Literature in the field suggests that anxiety interacts with cognitive processes and increases the likelihood of cognitive biases associated with psychosis. The systematic literature review investigates how anxiety affects the cognitive processes associated with the onset and maintenance of psychosis.

Part two is an empirical paper. Understanding the interactions between social, emotional and cognitive processes in psychosis holds promise in terms of improving psychosocial interventions. Current research suggests a link between childhood trauma, dissociation and psychosis. Studies of dissociative populations suggest cognitive inhibition, which is implicated in hallucinations, may be adversely affected by threat in psychotic populations. The empirical paper investigates the effect of anxiety on cognitive inhibition in participants with various levels of hallucination-proneness, and the associations between childhood trauma, dissociation and hallucination-proneness. It was hoped that the findings would contribute to the understanding of psychotic experiences and assist in the formulation and treatment of psychosis.

Part three comprises the appendices.

Department of Psychological Health and Wellbeing, The University of Hull
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