Characteristics of delusional experience

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The characteristics of delusional experience were examined in a mixed group of 55 patients considered to be deluded; 11 belief characteristics were assessed by self-rating: conviction, preoccupation, interference, resistance, dismissibility, absurdity, self-evidentness, reassurance seeking, worry, unhappiness and pervasiveness. Only on level of conviction did no subject show a low score; on other dimensions there was considerable inter-subject variability. A principal components analysis indicated 4 components: distress, belief strength, obtrusiveness and concern. It is argued that delusions are most usefully regarded as multi-dimensional and, while characterised by conviction, vary considerably on other important dimensions.