Psychological flexibility and nonjudgemental acceptance in voice hearers: relationships with omnipotence and distress Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: The psychological flexibility model has been hypothesized as a transdiagnostic, process-oriented approach to understanding various clinical disorders and problems, including chronic pain, anxiety, and substance misuse. In this study we investigated the model's applicability to the experience of hearing distressing voices. METHODS: Fifty people experiencing persisting auditory hallucinations were administered the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills, Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, Beliefs about Voices Questionnaire-Revised, Thought Control Questionnaire, and the Beck Anxiety and Depression Inventories. We predicted that psychological flexibility, mindful action, and nonjudgemental acceptance would be negatively associated with distress, disability, and behavioural responses to voice hearing and would have additional explanatory power when included with appraisals of voices and thought-control strategies (as predicted by cognitive models of auditory hallucinations). RESULTS: The results showed differential contributions between measures of psychological flexibility and nonjudgemental acceptance. Psychological flexibility accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in regression-based models of depression and anxiety, while nonjudgemental acceptance contributed to the prediction of emotional and behavioural resistance to voices, in addition to appraisals of voices and use of thought-control strategies. However, this was not found for distress associated with voice hearing, life disruption, and engagement with voices, which were explained solely by cognitive variables. CONCLUSIONS: The study results suggest that psychological flexibility and nonjudgemental acceptance are related to general emotional well being and resistance response styles to voices, but not to specific dimensions of voice hearing.

publication date

  • 2014