Indexed on: 03 Aug '12Published on: 03 Aug '12Published in: Psychopathology
Auditory hallucinations often influence schizophrenia patients in many aspects. In order to develop effective behavioral interventions for overcoming enduring auditory hallucinations, it is necessary to understand how the annoying symptom affects the daily lives of the patients. This study evaluated the effect of hearing unusual voices on performing the activities of daily life in schizophrenia patients.Eighteen hallucinating patients, 18 nonhallucinating patients and 20 normal controls performed the virtual daily-life task of packing 8 items for travel under 3 conditions: (1) without unusual voices and without avatars, (2) with unusual voices and without avatars and (3) with unusual voices and with avatars. Task completion time and the number of times the packing list was checked were recorded as a measure of the task performance.When exposed to unusual voices without avatars, hallucinating patients checked the packing list fewer times than nonhallucinating patients, and they required longer to complete the task, as positive and negative symptoms were worse. Subjective responses to unusual voices were stronger in hallucinating patients than in nonhallucinating patients.Daily-life activities of hallucinating patients may be less easily influenced by odd auditory stimuli in a nonsocial situation than those of nonhallucinating patients; however, hallucinating patients may feel more strongly affected by unusual voices. To better evaluate and thereby understand the difficulties faced by hallucinating patients in their daily life, the discrepancies between objective and subjective measures as well as social situations should be taken into consideration.