Background: Recent models of emotional disorders and psychosis implicate metacognitive beliefs in the development and maintenance of psychological distress. We predicted that patients with established psychotic disorders and those meeting at risk mental state (ARMS) criteria (and, thus, at increased risk of developing psychosis) would show higher levels of metacognitive beliefs than non-patient controls. Furthermore, we predicted that patients with psychosis would show higher levels of such beliefs than the at risk group.
Method: The Metacognitions Questionnaire was administered to 73 patients with psychotic disorders, 43 ARMS patients and 188 non-patients.
Results: As predicted, patients with psychotic diagnoses and those at risk scored higher on metacognitive belief dimensions than non-patients. Patients with psychosis showed higher positive metacognitive beliefs than the at risk patients, indicating a greater range of unhelpful metacognitions overall, when compared to non-patients.
Conclusions: These findings are consistent with metacognitive conceptualisations of psychological disorders. The implications of these findings for clinical practice are discussed.