To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Around two-thirds of patients with auditory hallucinations experience derogatory and threatening voices (DTVs). Understandably, when these voices are believed then common consequences can be depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. There is a need for treatment targeted at promoting distance from such voice content. The first step in this treatment development is to understand why patients listen to and believe voices that are appraised as malevolent.
To learn from patients their reasons for listening to and believing DTVs.
Theoretical sampling was used to recruit 15 participants with non-affective psychosis from NHS services who heard daily DTVs. Data were obtained by semi-structured interviews and analysed using grounded theory.
Six higher-order categories for why patients listen and/or believe voices were theorised. These were: (i) to understand the voices (e.g. what is their motive?); (ii) to be alert to the threat (e.g. prepared for what might happen); (iii) a normal instinct to rely on sensory information; (iv) the voices can be of people they know; (v) the DTVs use strategies (e.g. repetition) to capture attention; and (vi) patients feel so worn down it is hard to resist the voice experience (e.g. too mentally defeated to dismiss comments). In total, 21 reasons were identified, with all participants endorsing multiple reasons.
The study generated a wide range of reasons why patients listen to and believe DTVs. Awareness of these reasons can help clinicians understand the patient experience and also identify targets in psychological intervention.
An invisible threat has visibly altered the world. Governments and key institutions have had to implement decisive responses to the danger posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Imposed change will increase the likelihood that alternative explanations take hold. In a proportion of the general population there may be strong scepticism, fear of being misled, and false conspiracy theories. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of conspiracy thinking about the pandemic and test associations with reduced adherence to government guidelines.
A non-probability online survey with 2501 adults in England, quota sampled to match the population for age, gender, income, and region.
Approximately 50% of this population showed little evidence of conspiracy thinking, 25% showed a degree of endorsement, 15% showed a consistent pattern of endorsement, and 10% had very high levels of endorsement. Higher levels of coronavirus conspiracy thinking were associated with less adherence to all government guidelines and less willingness to take diagnostic or antibody tests or to be vaccinated. Such ideas were also associated with paranoia, general vaccination conspiracy beliefs, climate change conspiracy belief, a conspiracy mentality, and distrust in institutions and professions. Holding coronavirus conspiracy beliefs was also associated with being more likely to share opinions.
In England there is appreciable endorsement of conspiracy beliefs about coronavirus. Such ideas do not appear confined to the fringes. The conspiracy beliefs connect to other forms of mistrust and are associated with less compliance with government guidelines and greater unwillingness to take up future tests and treatment.
It is unknown whether a ‘jumping to conclusions’ (JTC) data-gathering bias is apparent in specific delusion sub-types. A group with persecutory delusions is compared with a sample of non-clinical controls on a probabilistic reasoning task. Results suggest JTC is apparent in individuals with the persecutory sub-type of delusions.
Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
We analysed data from 901 FEP patients and 1235 controls recruited across six countries, as part of the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. We used item response modelling to estimate two bifactor models, which included general and specific dimensions of psychotic symptoms in patients and psychotic experiences in controls. The associations between these dimensions and cannabis use were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models analyses.
In patients, there was a linear relationship between the positive symptom dimension and the extent of lifetime exposure to cannabis, with daily users of high-potency cannabis having the highest score (B = 0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.56). Moreover, negative symptoms were more common among patients who never used cannabis compared with those with any pattern of use (B = −0.22; 95% CI −0.37 to −0.07). In controls, psychotic experiences were associated with current use of cannabis but not with the extent of lifetime use. Neither patients nor controls presented differences in depressive dimension related to cannabis use.
Our findings provide the first large-scale evidence that FEP patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.
The Green et al., Paranoid Thoughts Scale (GPTS) – comprising two 16-item scales assessing ideas of reference (Part A) and ideas of persecution (Part B) – was developed over a decade ago. Our aim was to conduct the first large-scale psychometric evaluation.
In total, 10 551 individuals provided GPTS data. Four hundred and twenty-two patients with psychosis and 805 non-clinical individuals completed GPTS Parts A and B. An additional 1743 patients with psychosis and 7581 non-clinical individuals completed GPTS Part B. Factor analysis, item response theory, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were conducted.
The original two-factor structure of the GPTS had an inadequate model fit: Part A did not form a unidimensional scale and multiple items were locally dependant. A Revised-GPTS (R-GPTS) was formed, comprising eight-item ideas of reference and 10-item ideas of persecution subscales, which had an excellent model fit. All items in the new Reference (a = 2.09–3.67) and Persecution (a = 2.37–4.38) scales were strongly discriminative of shifts in paranoia and had high reliability across the spectrum of severity (a > 0.90). The R-GPTS score ranges are: average (Reference: 0–9; Persecution: 0–4); elevated (Reference: 10–15; Persecution: 5–10); moderately severe (Reference: 16–20; Persecution:11–17); severe (Reference: 21–24; Persecution: 18–27); and very severe (Reference: 25+; Persecution: 28+). Recommended cut-offs on the persecution scale are 11 to discriminate clinical levels of persecutory ideation and 18 for a likely persecutory delusion.
The psychometric evaluation indicated a need to improve the GPTS. The R-GPTS is a more precise measure, has excellent psychometric properties, and is recommended for future studies of paranoia.
There are high rates of obesity and low self-esteem in patients with psychosis. The occurrence of negative voice content directly about appearance is therefore plausible. Derogatory comments about appearance are likely to be distressing, increase depression and contribute to social withdrawal.
To systematically assess the occurrence of voice content regarding appearance and identify correlates.
Sixty patients experiencing verbal auditory hallucinations at least once a week in the context of non-affective psychosis completed a measure assessing positive and negative voice content about appearance. They also completed assessments about body image, self-esteem, psychiatric symptoms and well-being.
Fifty-five (91.7%) participants reported hearing voices comment on their appearance. A total of 54 (90%) patients reported negative voice content about their appearance with 30 (50%) patients experienced negative appearance comments on a daily basis. The most common negative comment was ‘the voices tell me that I am ugly’ (n = 48, 80%). There were 39 (65%) patients who reported positive voice content on appearance. The most frequent positive comment was ‘I look as nice as other people’ (n = 26, 43.3%). Negative voice content about appearance was associated with body image concerns, paranoia, voice hearing severity, depression, worry, negative self-beliefs and safety-seeking behaviours. Positive appearance voice content was associated with greater body esteem and well-being and lower levels of depression and insomnia.
Voice content about appearance is very common for patients seen in clinical services. Negative voice content may reflect – and subsequently reinforce – negative beliefs about one's appearance, low self-esteem, worry and paranoia.
The period before the formation of a persecutory delusion may provide causal insights. Patient accounts are invaluable in informing this understanding.
To inform the understanding of delusion formation, we asked patients about the occurrence of potential causal factors – identified from a cognitive model – before delusion onset.
A total of 100 patients with persecutory delusions completed a checklist about their subjective experiences in the weeks before belief onset. The checklist included items concerning worry, images, low self-esteem, poor sleep, mood dysregulation, dissociation, manic-type symptoms, aberrant salience, hallucinations, substance use and stressors. Time to reach certainty in the delusion was also assessed.
Most commonly it took patients several months to reach delusion certainty (n = 30), although other patients took a few weeks (n = 24), years (n = 21), knew instantly (n = 17) or took a few days (n = 6). The most frequent experiences occurring before delusion onset were: low self-confidence (n = 84); excessive worry (n = 80); not feeling like normal self (n = 77); difficulties concentrating (n = 77); going over problems again and again (n = 75); being very negative about the self (n = 75); images of bad things happening (n = 75); and sleep problems (n = 75). The average number of experiences occurring was high (mean 23.5, s.d. = 8.7). The experiences clustered into six main types, with patients reporting an average of 5.4 (s.d. = 1.0) different types.
Patients report numerous different experiences in the period before full persecutory delusion onset that could be contributory causal factors, consistent with a complex multifactorial view of delusion occurrence. This study, however, relied on retrospective self-report and could not determine causality.
The cognitive process of worry, which keeps negative thoughts in mind and elaborates the content, contributes to the occurrence of many mental health disorders. Our principal aim was to develop a straightforward measure of general problematic worry suitable for research and clinical treatment. Our secondary aim was to develop a measure of problematic worry specifically concerning paranoid fears.
An item pool concerning worry in the past month was evaluated in 250 non-clinical individuals and 50 patients with psychosis in a worry treatment trial. Exploratory factor analysis and item response theory (IRT) informed the selection of scale items. IRT analyses were repeated with the scales administered to 273 non-clinical individuals, 79 patients with psychosis and 93 patients with social anxiety disorder. Other clinical measures were administered to assess concurrent validity. Test-retest reliability was assessed with 75 participants. Sensitivity to change was assessed with 43 patients with psychosis.
A 10-item general worry scale (Dunn Worry Questionnaire; DWQ) and a five-item paranoia worry scale (Paranoia Worries Questionnaire; PWQ) were developed. All items were highly discriminative (DWQ a = 1.98–5.03; PWQ a = 4.10–10.7), indicating small increases in latent worry lead to a high probability of item endorsement. The DWQ was highly informative across a wide range of the worry distribution, whilst the PWQ had greatest precision at clinical levels of paranoia worry. The scales demonstrated excellent internal reliability, test-retest reliability, concurrent validity and sensitivity to change.
The new measures of general problematic worry and worry about paranoid fears have excellent psychometric properties.
Novel approaches to improving disaster response have begun to include the use of big data and information and communication technology (ICT). However, there remains a dearth of literature on the use of these technologies in disasters. We have conducted an integrative literature review on the role of ICT and big data in disasters. Included in the review were 113 studies that met our predetermined inclusion criteria. Most studies used qualitative methods (39.8%, n=45) over mixed methods (31%, n=35) or quantitative methods (29.2%, n=33). Nearly 80% (n=88) covered only the response phase of disasters and only 15% (n=17) of the studies addressed disasters in low- and middle-income countries. The 4 most frequently mentioned tools were geographic information systems, social media, patient information, and disaster modeling. We suggest testing ICT and big data tools more widely, especially outside of high-income countries, as well as in nonresponse phases of disasters (eg, disaster recovery), to increase an understanding of the utility of ICT and big data in disasters. Future studies should also include descriptions of the intended users of the tools, as well as implementation challenges, to assist other disaster response professionals in adapting or creating similar tools. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:353–367)
Background: A one-to-one cognitive behavioural therapy intervention targeting worry significantly reduces both worry and persecutory delusions (Freeman et al., 2015). Aim: To adapt this intervention for group delivery and conduct a feasibility trial within routine clinical practice. Method: Thirteen participants were randomized to a weekly 8-session worry intervention group (n = 7) or wait-list control (n = 6). Results: All but one participant completed measures at all time points. Participants attended an average of six therapy sessions. Conclusions: Recruitment, retention and therapy uptake were feasible. Observed treatment effects were in the expected direction, but may be diluted compared with one-to-one interventions.
Sleep problems are pervasive in people with schizophrenia, but there are no clinical guidelines for their treatment. The Better Sleep Trial (BEST) concluded that suitably adapted cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is likely to be highly effective, although its cost-effectiveness is unknown.
To assess the potential cost-effectiveness of CBT for sleep disorders in patients with schizophrenia.
An economic evaluation of the BEST study with a 6-month time horizon was used to establish the cost-effectiveness of CBT plus usual care in terms of costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Uncertainty was displayed on cost-effectiveness planes and acceptability curves. Value of information analysis was performed to estimate the benefits of obtaining further evidence.
On average, the treatment led to a 0.035 QALY gain (95% CI −0.016 to 0.084), and £1524 (95% CI −10 529 to 4736) and £1227 (95% CI −10 395 to 5361) lower costs from National Health Service and societal perspectives, respectively. The estimated value of collecting more information about the effects of the CBT on costs and QALYs was approximately £87 million.
CBT for insomnia in people with schizophrenia is effective and potentially cost-effective. A larger trial is needed to provide clear evidence about its cost-effectiveness.
Patients with schizophrenia have multiple complex health needs, as well as very high rates of depression, suicidal ideation and poor physical health. The results of this study showed that treating pervasive sleep problems in this patient group with cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is very likely to improve patient quality of life in the short term. Clinicians most commonly use hypnotic medication to treat sleeping disorders. This study indicates that CBT may be an effective and cost-effective intervention in this patient group. This alternative would also be aligned with patient preferences for psychological and behavioural-type therapy.
Background: Almost all patients admitted at acute crisis to a psychiatric ward experience clinically significant symptoms of insomnia. Ward environments pose challenges to both sleep and the delivery of therapy. Despite this, there is no description of how to adapt cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia to overcome these challenges. Aims: (i) To describe the key insomnia presentations observed in the Oxford Ward Sleep Solution (OWLS) trial and (ii) outline key adaptations aimed to increase accessibility and hence effectiveness of CBT for insomnia for a ward setting. Methods: Trial therapists collaboratively agreed the key insomnia presentations and therapy adaptations based on their individual reflective logs used during the trial. Results: Three key insomnia presentations are outlined. These are used to illustrate the application of 10 CBT for insomnia therapy adaptations. These include use of sleep monitoring watches to engage patients in treatment, stabilizing circadian rhythms, reducing the impact of night-time observations and managing discharge as a sleep challenge. Conclusions: Whilst inpatient wards bring challenges for sleep and therapy delivery, creative adaptations can increase the accessibility of evidence based CBT for insomnia techniques. This therapy has proven popular with patients.
When patients are admitted onto psychiatric wards, sleep problems are highly prevalent. We carried out the first trial testing a psychological sleep treatment at acute admission (Oxford Ward sLeep Solution, OWLS).
This assessor-blind parallel-group pilot trial randomised patients to receive sleep treatment at acute crisis [STAC, plus standard care (SC)], or SC alone (1 : 1). STAC included cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia, sleep monitoring and light/dark exposure for circadian entrainment, delivered over 2 weeks. Assessments took place at 0, 2, 4 and 12 weeks. Feasibility outcomes assessed recruitment, retention of participants and uptake of the therapy. Primary efficacy outcomes were the Insomnia Severity Index and Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale at week 2. Analyses were intention-to-treat, estimating treatment effect with 95% confidence intervals.
Between October 2015 and July 2016, 40 participants were recruited (from 43 assessed eligible). All participants offered STAC completed treatment (mean sessions received = 8.6, s.d. = 1.5). All participants completed the primary end point. Compared with SC, STAC led to large effect size (ES) reductions in insomnia at week 2 (adjusted mean difference −4.6, 95% CI −7.7 to −1.4, ES −0.9), a small improvement in psychological wellbeing (adjusted mean difference 3.7, 95% CI −2.8 to 10.1, ES 0.3) and patients were discharged 8.5 days earlier. One patient in the STAC group had an adverse event, unrelated to participation.
In this challenging environment for research, the trial was feasible. Therapy uptake was high. STAC may be a highly effective treatment for sleep disturbance on wards with potential wider benefits on wellbeing and admission length.
Background: Our view is that sleep disturbance may be a contributory causal factor in the development and maintenance of psychotic experiences. A recent series of randomized controlled intervention studies has shown that cognitive-behavioural approaches can improve sleep in people with psychotic experiences. However, the effects of psychological intervention for improving sleep have not been evaluated in young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis. Improving sleep might prevent later transition to a mental health disorder. Aims: To assess the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention targeting sleep disturbance in young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis. Method: Patients were sought from NHS mental health services. Twelve young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis with sleep problems were offered an eight-session adapted CBT intervention for sleep problems. The core treatment techniques were stimulus control, circadian realignment, and regulating day-time activity. Participants were assessed before and after treatment and at a one month follow-up. Results: All eligible patients referred to the study agreed to take part. Eleven patients completed the intervention, and one patient withdrew after two sessions. Of those who completed treatment, the attendance rate was 89% and an average of 7.6 sessions (SD = 0.5) were attended. There were large effect size improvements in sleep. Post-treatment, six patients fell below the recommended cut-off for clinical insomnia. There were also improvements in negative affect and psychotic experiences. Conclusion: This uncontrolled feasibility study indicates that treating sleep problems in young people at ultra-high of psychosis is feasible, acceptable, and may be associated with clinical benefits.
This paper presents the first major data release and survey description for the ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme. ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme is an ongoing supernova spectroscopy campaign utilising the Wide Field Spectrograph on the Australian National University 2.3-m telescope. The first and primary data release of this programme (AWSNAP-DR1) releases 357 spectra of 175 unique objects collected over 82 equivalent full nights of observing from 2012 July to 2015 August. These spectra have been made publicly available via the WISEREP supernova spectroscopy repository.
We analyse the ANU WiFeS SuperNovA Programme sample of Type Ia supernova spectra, including measurements of narrow sodium absorption features afforded by the high spectral resolution of the Wide Field Spectrograph instrument. In some cases, we were able to use the integral-field nature of the Wide Field Spectrograph instrument to measure the rotation velocity of the SN host galaxy near the SN location in order to obtain precision sodium absorption velocities. We also present an extensive time series of SN 2012dn, including a near-nebular spectrum which both confirms its ‘super-Chandrasekhar’ status and enables measurement of the sub-solar host metallicity at the SN site.
A multi-crossing (or n-crossing) is a singular point in a projection of a knot or link at which n strands cross so that each strand bisects the crossing. We generalise the classic result of Kauffman, Murasugi and Thistlethwaite relating the span of the bracket polynomial to the double-crossing number of a link, span〈K〉 ⩽ 4c2, to the n-crossing number. We find the following lower bound on the n-crossing number in terms of the span of the bracket polynomial for any n ⩾ 3:
We also explore n-crossing additivity under composition, and find that for n ⩾ 4 there are examples of knots K1 and K2 such that cn(K1#K2) = cn(K1) + cn(K2) − 1. Further, we present the the first extensive list of calculations of n-crossing numbers of knots. Finally, we explore the monotonicity of the sequence of n-crossings of a knot, which we call the crossing spectrum.
Persecutory delusions may be unfounded threat beliefs maintained by
safety-seeking behaviours that prevent disconfirmatory evidence being
successfully processed. Use of virtual reality could facilitate new
To test the hypothesis that enabling patients to test the threat
predictions of persecutory delusions in virtual reality social
environments with the dropping of safety-seeking behaviours (virtual
reality cognitive therapy) would lead to greater delusion reduction than
exposure alone (virtual reality exposure).
Conviction in delusions and distress in a real-world situation were
assessed in 30 patients with persecutory delusions. Patients were then
randomised to virtual reality cognitive therapy or virtual reality
exposure, both with 30 min in graded virtual reality social environments.
Delusion conviction and real-world distress were then reassessed.
In comparison with exposure, virtual reality cognitive therapy led to
large reductions in delusional conviction (reduction 22.0%,
P = 0.024, Cohen's d = 1.3) and
real-world distress (reduction 19.6%, P = 0.020, Cohen's
d = 0.8).
Cognitive therapy using virtual reality could prove highly effective in
Stressful life events (SLEs) are associated with psychotic experiences. SLEs might act as an environmental risk factor, but may also share a genetic propensity with psychotic experiences.
To estimate the extent to which genetic and environmental factors influence the relationship between SLEs and psychotic experiences.
Self- and parent reports from a community-based twin sample (4830 16-year-old pairs) were analysed using structural equation model fitting.
SLEs correlated with positive psychotic experiences (r = 0.12–0.14, all P<0.001). Modest heritability was shown for psychotic experiences (25–57%) and dependent SLEs (32%). Genetic influences explained the majority of the modest covariation between dependent SLEs and paranoia and cognitive disorganisation (bivariate heritabilities 74–86%). The relationship between SLEs and hallucinations and grandiosity was explained by both genetic and common environmental effects.
Further to dependent SLEs being an environmental risk factor, individuals may have an underlying genetic propensity increasing their risk of dependent SLEs and positive psychotic experiences.