Correlates of Auditory Hallucinations in Nonpsychotic Children

Nicole T. Best, Peter Mertin, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, October 2007, 12, 4, 611–623.

Abstract: The phenomenon of auditory hallucinations in clinical populations of nonpsychotic children is an intriguing and little understood area. To date, investigations in this area have reported on a range of correlates, including family histories of psychiatric illness, family dysfunction, and significant levels of stress in the children themselves. The current study reported on 10 nonpsychotic children drawn from a number of community-based child and family agencies that provide therapeutic outpatient services. Consistent with previous studies, the present study found strong associations with family dysfunction, specifically family break-up, as well as significant levels of anxiety and depression in the presenting children. In addition, half the children reported the presence of imaginary companions. Despite confirmation of some previous findings, many other features of this phenomenon remain unanswered, including the different psychological functions that hallucinations and imaginary companions may serve for emotionally troubled children.