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Title: The experience of mental health conditions and voice hearing in individuals with an Autistic Spectrum Condition
Author: Venton-Platz, Hanna
ISNI:       0000 0005 0289 6477
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis sought to contribute to the understanding of mental health outcomes and voice hearing experiences in individuals with a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). It consists of three papers. Papers one and two have been prepared for two separate journals and comply with the journals guidelines for submission. Paper one is a systematic literature review which summarises empirical research investigating the relationship between sensory patterns and mental health outcomes in individuals with a diagnosis of ASC. Following a systematic search of six databases, 16 papers were identified. Findings suggest a robust association between hyper-sensitivity and anxiety. Preliminary evidence to suggested a relationship between hyper-reactivity and depression and components of hypo-reactivity and both anxiety and depression. Quality assessment of the empirical studies, however revealed that both the sensory and mental health outcome measures utilised across the eligible papers had not been developed for or validated within individuals with ASC. The review concluded that future research should concentrate on validating measures within sensory and mental health literature within autism populations, further research and clinical implications are addressed within paper one. Paper two is a qualitative exploration of voice hearing experiences in individuals with a diagnosis of ASC. Although evidence suggests an increased prevalence of psychotic-like experiences within this population, this remains a neglected area of research. To address this gap paper two investigated the phenomenology and meaning attributed to voice hearing experiences, conducting semi-structured interviews with nine individuals with a diagnosis of ASC. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, four themes emerged: Theme 1.) 'the double-edged sword; voices aiding in, impairing and reflecting social or life struggles'. Theme 2.) 'uncertainty regarding the source of voices' Theme 3.) 'frameworks for conceptualising voice hearing experiences' Theme 4.) 'aspects of the voices associated with ASC'. Paper two concluded that reported voice hearing in this population require careful and detailed assessment with consideration of the unique experiences (e.g. sensory features, specialist interests) associated with ASC. Paper three is a critical evaluation of paper one and two. It includes reflections on the research process, methodological strengths and limitations of the research as well as its personal implications for the authors clinical practice.
Supervisor: Haddock, Gillian ; Varese, Filippo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Autistic Spectrum condition ; Hearing Voices ; Auditory Verbal Hallucination ; Mental Health Conditions