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Title: The relationship between self-schema, illness beliefs, experiential avoidance and psychological distress in individuals with psychosis
Author: Lower, Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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This study investigates psychological processes associated with distress in individuals who have experienced psychosis. Previous research has demonstrated that negative self-schema and illness beliefs may contribute to distress within this population. However, there is increasing interest in the use of acceptance-based psychological interventions, which view acceptance of psychotic symptoms as core to the enhancement of psychological well-being. Conversely, such approaches view experiential avoidance as a key contributory factor in psychological distress. This study aims to explore the relationships between self-schema, illness beliefs, and experiential avoidance, and to investigate the influence of each of these factors on psychological distress. It is hypothesised that experiential avoidance will mediate the relationships between negative self-schema and distress, and between illness beliefs and distress. Eighty-four individuals who had experienced psychotic symptoms participated in this study. A battery of measures including the Brief Core Schema Scales, Personal Beliefs about Illness Questionnaire-Revised, Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II and Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation, was administered in an interview-based format to each participant. Data were analysed using path analysis, an extension of multiple regression. A number of significant direct and indirect relationships between the variables were demonstrated by the data. Negative self-schema, illness beliefs and experiential avoidance were all significantly associated with distress, although the strongest relationship was between experiential avoidance and distress. Data did not support the hypothesis that experiential avoidance mediated the relationship between negative self-schema and distress, and only partial support was found for its role in mediating between illness beliefs and distress. Results indicate that experiential avoidance may be a stronger predictor of distress in individuals with psychosis than negative self-schema or illness beliefs. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available