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Title page for ETD etd-09142017-093846

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Benson, Taylor Leigh
Author's Email Address taylor.l.benson@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-09142017-093846
Title Bodily Self-Disturbances across the Schizophrenia-Spectrum
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sohee Park Committee Chair
Andrew Tomarken Committee Member
Megan Saylor Committee Member
Steven Hollon Committee Member
  • schizophrenia
  • psychosis
  • self
  • body
Date of Defense 2017-08-25
Availability unrestricted

Anomalous or weakened sense of self was central to early theories of schizophrenia. Recent empirical studies have also documented disturbances in body ownership and increased susceptibility for dissociative experiences such as the out of body experience (OBE) in patients with schizophrenia. However, more work is necessary to clarify the relationship between bodily self-disturbances in the schizophrenia spectrum. The current dissertation is comprised of three studies which aim to 1) investigate the prevalence of dissociative experiences across the schizophrenia spectrum; 2) introduce a new picture-based questionnaire, the “BODI” (Brugger et al. Out-of-body and Dissociative experiences Inventory), designed to assess unusual bodily experiences in clinical and healthy populations; and 3) investigate the relationship between anomalous self-experiences and abnormal multisensory integration across the schizophrenia spectrum. The results from these studies indicate that 1) dissociative experiences are prevalent in schizophrenia spectrum populations; 2) the BODI is a useful new tool that accurately captures bodily self-disturbances and predicts psychosis risk; and 3) bodily self-disturbances are related to differences in multisensory integration in young adults at risk for psychosis that are likely mediated by temporoparietal abnormalities. The results from these studies demonstrate the need for treatment programs to integrate multisensory training for people on the schizophrenia spectrum.

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