Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Delusion, the overvalued idea and religious beliefs: A comparative analysis of their characteristics

  • Edgar Jones (a1) and J. P. Watson (a1)

Abstract

Background

The study sought to investigate the form of the delusion in schizophrenia and the overvalued idea in anorexia, employing a range of belief characteristics to discover whether differences could be detected between them, and how they stood in general relationship to the religious beliefs of normals.

Method

A belief rating scale was devised with 12 characteristics, and completed by 20 schizophrenics, 20 anorectics, and 20 normal controls. Comparisons were drawn between populations using the Mann-Whitney test, and different types of belief were contrasted within diagnostic groups using each subject as their own control by repeated-measures MANOVA.

Results

The schizophrenic delusion was differentiated from the overvalued idea in anorexia by a number of variables, which also served to distinguish both phenomena from religious beliefs held by normals. The schizophrenic delusion exhibited many of the qualities of an initial (or observational) belief, when its content suggested that it should manifest those of a derived belief. The anorectic overvalued idea, although occasionally an initial belief in terms of its content, was typically held in the form of a derived belief.

Conclusions

A wider range of characteristics is required to define all the differences between delusion and the overvalued idea, and these have implications for belief modification programmes.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Edgar Jones, Division of Psychiatry, UMDS, Guy's Hospital, London SEI 9RT

References

Hide All
Bentall, R. P., Kinderman, P. & Kaney, S. (1994) The self, attributional processes and abnormal beliefs: towards a model of persecutory delusions. Behavioural Research and Therapy, 32, 331341.
Berrios, G. (1991) Delusions as ‘wrong beliefs’: a conceptual history. British Journal of Psychiatry 159 (suppl. 14), 613.
Brett-Jones, J., Garety, P. & Hemsley, D. (1987) Measuring delusional experiences: a method and its application. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 26, 257265.
Butler, R. W. & Braff, D L. (1991) Delusions: a review and integration. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 17, 633647.
Churchland, P. M. (1979) Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fulford, K. M. W. (1989) Moral Theory and Medical Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Garety, P. A. (1985) Delusions: problems in definition and measurement. British Medical Psychology, 58, 2534.
Garety, P. A. & Hemsley, D R. (1987) Characteristics of delusional experience. European Archives of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences. 236, 294298.
Garety, P. A. & Hemsley, D R. (1994) Delusions, Investigations into the Psychology of Delusional Reasoning. Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press
Garety, P. A. & Hemsley, D R., Everitt, B. S. & Hemsley, D. R., (1988) The characteristics of delusions: a cluster analysis of deluded subjects. European Archives of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences. 237, 112114.
Garety, P. A. & Hemsley, D R., Hemsley, D R. & Wessely, S. (1991) Reasoning in deluded schizophrenic and paranoid patients: biases in performance on a probabilistic inference task. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 179, 194210.
Hemsley, D. R. & Garety, P. A. (1986) The formation and maintenance of delusions: a Bayesian analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 5156.
Huq, S. F., Garety, P. A. & Hemsley, EX R. (1988) Probabilistic judgements in deluded and non-deluded subjects. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 40A, 801812.
Kaney, S. & Bentall, R. P. (1989) Persecutory delusions and attributional style. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 62, 191198.
Milton, F., Patwa, V. K. & Hafner, R. J. (1978) Confrontation vs. belief modification in persistently deluded patients. British Journal of Medical Psychology. 51, 127130.
Oltmanns, T. F. & Maher, B. A. (eds) (1988) Delusional Beliefs. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Roberts, G. (1992) The origins of delusion. British Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 293308.
Smith, P. & Jones, O. R. (1986) The Philosophy of Mind. An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Spitzer, M. (1990) The phenomenology of delusions. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 31, 377397.
Watts, F. N., Powell, G. E. & Austin, S. V. (1973) The modification of abnormal beliefs. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 46, 359363.
Winters, K. C. & Neale, J. M. (1983) Delusions and delusional thinking in psychotics: a review of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 3, 227253.
World Health Organization (1992) The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Geneva: WHO.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

Delusion, the overvalued idea and religious beliefs: A comparative analysis of their characteristics

  • Edgar Jones (a1) and J. P. Watson (a1)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *