Interpersonal relating and voice hearing : to what extent does voice relating reflect parental relating?
Objectives. This study explored the relationship between distress and the
perceptions that voice hearers have of their relationship with the voice they hear. It
also explored associations between early parental relating and current voice relating.
It was predicted that a dominant style of relating by the voice and a distancing style
of relating by the voice hearer would be associated with distress. It was also
predicted that parental overprotection would be associated with a dominant intrusive
style of relating by the voice and low parental care would be associated with an
abusive, intrusive style of relating by the voice.
Method. A correlational design was adopted and 29 voice hearers
participated in the study. Information was gathered about the characteristics of their
voice-hearing experience, the level of distress experienced in relation to the voice,
the relating style of the voice, the relating style of the voice hearer, parental care and
overprotection, and levels of depression.
Results. The tendency of the voice to relate in a dominating, abusive manner
and the tendency of voice hearers to react with distancing and lack of
communication, were associated with distress. However, the above associations were
largely accounted for by depression. Paternal low care was associated with a
dominant, abusive voice relating style. There was no other evidence of associations
between early parental relating and voice relating.
Conclusions. The pattern of interrelating characterised by a dominant voice
and a distant voice hearer was associated with distress and depression. Clinical
assessments may be enhanced by considering voices in interpersonal terms. Relating
styles associated with distress and depression could become targets for therapeutic
input. Further investigation into the origins of interpersonal relationships between
voice and voice hearer is needed. Moreover, an exploration of the associations
between voice hearer's current interpersonal relationships and voice relating might
aid our understanding of this experience.