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Behav Res Ther. 2003 Feb;41(2):251-6.

A comparison of metacognitions in patients with hallucinations, delusions, panic disorder, and non-patient controls.

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  • 1Psychology Services, Mental Health Services of Salford, Manchester, UK.


This study tested the hypothesis that metacognitions are a general vulnerability factor for psychological disorder. It was predicted that patients with psychosis (hallucinations or delusions), and patients with panic disorder would score higher than non-patients on measures of metacognition. Moreover, it was hypothesised that patients showing most dysregulation of thinking (voice-hearers) would endorse significantly higher metacognition scores than individuals in the other groups. The Meta-Cognitions Questionnaire (MCQ: ) was administered to patients who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia spectrum disorders with auditory hallucinations, patients who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia spectrum disorders with persecutory delusions, patients who met DSM-IV criteria for panic disorder and non-patients. The results showed that psychotic patients who experience auditory hallucinations tended to exhibit higher levels of dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs than other patient groups, scoring significantly higher than at least two of the three control groups on positive beliefs about worry, negative beliefs about uncontrollability and danger, cognitive confidence and negative beliefs including superstition, punishment and responsibility. It was also found that the metacognitive beliefs of patients with persecutory delusions and panic patients were often similar to each other, and elevated in comparison to non-patients, suggesting that such beliefs are generic vulnerability factors. The theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

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