Auditory verbal hallucinations in first-episode psychosis: a phenomenological investigation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Mathew Broome
  • Kimberley Caldwell
  • Oluwafemi Oyebode


Background: In dimensional understanding of psychosis, Auditory Verbal Hallucinations (AVH) are unitary phenomena present on a continuum from non-clinical voice hearing to severe mental illness. There is mixed evidence for this approach and a relative absence of research into subjective experience of AVH in early psychosis.
Aims: To conduct primary research into the nature of subjective experience of AVH in First Episode Psychosis (FEP).
Method: A phenomenological study using diary and photo-elicitation qualitative techniques investigating the subjective experience of AVH in 25 young people with FEP.
Results: AVH are characterized by 1) Entity; as though from a living being with complex social interchange 2) Control; exert authority with ability to control. AVH are also received with passivity, often accompanied by sensation in other modalities.
Conclusion: A modern detailed phenomenological investigation, without presupposition, gives results that echo known descriptive psychopathology. However, novel findings also emerge that may be features of AVH in psychosis not currently captured with standardized measures.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2016


  • Qualitative, Hallucinations, Phenomenology, Psychosis, Schizophrenia

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