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Title: Beliefs, self-esteem and mood in older adults with late paraphrenia
Author: McCulloch, Yvonne
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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There is little known about the psychological processes of those with 'late paraphrenia', the onset of psychosis in later life without any apparent organic cause. This research investigated the relationship between mood, low self-esteem and the maintenance of delusions in older adults with late paraphrenia. In studies of those with early-onset schizophrenia, evidence suggests that delusions may defend against a low self-esteem, and thus depression (Kinderman & Bentall, 1996). It is thought that older people use psychological strategies to maintain self-esteem in the face of negative changes to their lives as the consequence of ageing (Atchley, 1982). The present study hypothesised that the psychosis of those with late paraphrenia may be due to strategies used to maintain self-esteem during the ageing process. Self-esteem, depression and self-representations, as well as perceptions of changes in functioning over time, were investigated in 13 people with late paraphernalia over the age of 65. Responses were compared with a depressed group (N=15) and healthy control group (N=15). The study found that those with late paraphrenia showed good levels of self-esteem and little depression. There was no evidence to suggest that their delusions were acting as a defence against underlying negative feelings about themselves. However, there was some indication that the positive views that those with late paraphrenia have were compromised by more negative views of their perceived functioning in the external world. The results are discussed in relation to theories of the function of delusions and conceptual models of adjustment to ageing. The implications for clinical practice are also considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available