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Mindfulness of voices, self-compassion, and secure attachment in relation to the experience of hearing voices

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/08/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of Clinical Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date12/08/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Objectives
Developing compassion towards oneself has been linked to improvement in many areas of psychological well-being, including psychosis. Furthermore, developing a non-judgemental, accepting way of relating to voices is associated with lower levels of distress for people who hear voices. These factors have also been associated with secure attachment. This study explores associations between the constructs of mindfulness of voices, self-compassion, and distress from hearing voices and how secure attachment style related to each of these variables.

Design
Cross-sectional online.

Method
One hundred and twenty-eight people (73% female; Mage = 37.5; 87.5% Caucasian) who currently hear voices completed the Self-Compassion Scale, Southampton Mindfulness of Voices Questionnaire, Relationships Questionnaire, and Hamilton Programme for Schizophrenia Voices Questionnaire.

Results
Results showed that mindfulness of voices mediated the relationship between self-compassion and severity of voices, and self-compassion mediated the relationship between mindfulness of voices and severity of voices. Self-compassion and mindfulness of voices were significantly positively correlated with each other and negatively correlated with distress and severity of voices.

Conclusion
Mindful relation to voices and self-compassion are associated with reduced distress and severity of voices, which supports the proposed potential benefits of mindful relating to voices and self-compassion as therapeutic skills for people experiencing distress by voice hearing.

Practitioner points
Greater self-compassion and mindfulness of voices were significantly associated with less distress from voices. These findings support theory underlining compassionate mind training.
Mindfulness of voices mediated the relationship between self-compassion and distress from voices, indicating a synergistic relationship between the constructs.
Although the current findings do not give a direction of causation, consideration is given to the potential impact of mindful and compassionate approaches to voices.