About the Research Project

The overall aim of the project is to explore how childhood trauma may influence the progression of signs and symptoms into psychotic experiences. The research project is formed of three interlinked studies.

The first study was finalised and the results suggest that isolating oneself in states of elevated distress and attempting to cope with the stressor alone instead of regulating distress with a close other may disturb the ability to understand one’s own thoughts, emotions and intentions and that of others. Such confusion may lead to unusual beliefs or thoughts. Childhood emotional abuse and neglect were found to be the distal risk factors that increase the likelihood of the occurence of such unusual beliefs.

The results of the first study indicate isolation and confusion as consecutive stages that may lead to psychotic experiences. Such a stage progression of psychological vulnerabilities needs to be tested in a longitudinal study design to support the findings. The second study’s purpose is to check the reliability of the results. Its design is the replication of the first study’s design.

The final study focuses on the confusion stage in more depth. The focus is on the role of social stress in emotional awareness, the reduction of which may elevate or give rise to psychotic experiences. The study employs a different and a more demanding design referred to as “experience sampling”. This is a structured diary method, in which participants answer the same 2-3 minutes survey multiple times a day for a week. The experience sampling method is required due to the phenomena being investigated. Social stress is circumstantial and emotional awareness and psychotic experiences may change dependent on the level of social stress. This is the reason why the experience sampling method is needed.

Thank you for your interest!

If you have any questions you can contact the lead researcher Ercan Ozdemir via email:

ercan.ozdemir@ed.ac.uk

 

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