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Br J Clin Psychol. 2011 Jun;50(2):145-63. doi: 10.1348/014466510X500837. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Clinical correlates of olfactory hallucinations in schizophrenia.

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Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.



 Olfactory hallucinations (OHs) are underrepresented in conventional clinical instruments, infrequently researched, and poorly understood. To advance understanding of OHs, we examined their past-month prevalence and co-occurring symptoms in two datasets.


 One dataset comprised categorical codes and was examined using homogeneity analysis and logistic regression; the other dataset comprised numeric ratings and was examined using principal components analyses and linear regression.


 The two datasets included: (1) 962 cases with Present State Examination - 9th Edition (PSE-9), codes (recoded present/absent) from the World Health Organization 10 Country (WHO-10) Study and (2) 265 cases with ratings on Scales for Assessing Positive/Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia (SAPS/SANS). Two PSE-9 items (external- and self-smells) were recoded into a single OH item to examine consistency with the SAPS/SANS dataset, which contained a single OH item.


 Prevalence of OHs and hallucinations in other modalities differed according to the WHO-10 international centre. Across centres, OHs were present in 13% of the WHO-10 dataset, similar to the 17% prevalence rate in the SAPS/SANS dataset. Referential/control delusions and other hallucinations (particularly, somatic/tactile/gustatory hallucinations) were significant independent correlates of OHs in both datasets. OHs also co-occurred with social anxiety and depression in the WHO-10 dataset, with self-smells being particularly associated with self-depreciation.


 Sociocultural factors may modulate the self-reporting and/or detection of OHs and hallucinations in other modalities. Referential/control delusions promote the generation and/or maintenance of OHs independent of factors shared with other hallucinations. OHs and hallucinations of taste, touch, and bodily sensation frequently co-occur. Self-smells warrant sensitive probing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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