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Title: Responsibility beliefs and deservedness in persecutory delusions
Author: Pugh, Katherine
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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Persecutory delusions are one of the most prevalent psychotic symptoms and research into their causes and consequences is vital. People with 'bad me' paranoia believe they deserve to be persecuted. However, other beliefs associated with this experience have not been identified. Responsibility and overestimation of threat beliefs were traditionally linked with OeD but have also been found in people with unspecified psychosis. The current study examined if there was a difference between responsibility beliefs (separate from overestimation of threat beliefs) in people with persecutory delusions compared to non-clinical controls and previously published data from people with OeD, anxiety disorders and unspecified psychosis. The relationship between responsibility beliefs and deservedness for persecution was also examined. 30 people with persecutory delusions and 29 non-clinical controls were recruited. Both groups completed measures of affect, responsibility and overestimation of threat beliefs. People with persecutory delusions were interviewed about their delusional beliefs and they identified a range of entities who they believed ,. were responsible for the perceived harm. They also had higher responsibility scores than non-clinical controls, people with OeD and people with anxiety disorders. In the persecutory delusions group higher responsibility scores were related to people believing they deserved to be persecuted. However, there was no difference between their responsibility scores and those of people with unspecified psychosis. The results suggest that responsibility beliefs are not specific to OeD but further research is required to establish whether responsibility beliefs have a specific relationship to persecutory delusions or are related to psychosis in general. It is important to assess who people believe is responsible for their persecution as this could identify additional beliefs and experiences that are significant for that individual. Treatments 3 for reducing responsibility beliefs in QeD could be beneficial for people with persecutory delusions and future research is needed to establish this.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available