Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 49, Issue 10, pp 1541–1544 | Cite as

The journey to psychosis: an exploration of specific psychological pathways

  • Stephanie BeardsEmail author
  • Helen L. Fisher


Recent models of psychosis have implicated specific psychological processes in the aetiology of this disorder, and these factors may form a route to later symptoms—either directly or via a mediating pathway after exposure to adversity. Researchers are beginning to bring together findings that look into specific pathways between early experiences of adversity and different symptoms of psychosis, including thought disorder, hallucinations and persecutory delusions. The adversity-specific pathways include parental communication deviance, source monitoring biases, and insecure attachment. Researchers have also begun to utilise specific psychological factors as targets for treatment, and these include a focus on a worrying thinking style, negative beliefs about the self, interpersonal sensitivity, sleep disturbance, anomalous internal experience, and reasoning biases. Research on the impact of psychological processes is beginning to mount and is likely to improve our understanding of aetiology and lead to significant advances in the treatment of psychotic symptoms and disorders.


Psychosis Adversity Mechanisms Thought disorder Hallucinations Delusions 



SB is supported by an Economic and Social Research Council Ph.D. studentship. HF is supported by a Medical Research Council Population Health Scientist fellowship.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Service and Population Research DepartmentCentre for Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry CentreInstitute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College LondonLondonUK

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