Auditory verbal hallucinations in persons with and without a need for care

Louise C Johns, Kristiina Kompus, Melissa Connell, Clara Humpston, Tania M Lincoln, Eleanor Longden, Antonio Preti, Ben Alderson-Day, Johanna C Badcock, Matteo Cella, Charles Fernyhough, Simon McCarthy-Jones, Emmanuelle Peters, Andrea Raballo, James Scott, Sara Siddi, Iris E Sommer, Frank Larøi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are complex experiences that occur in the context of various clinical disorders. AVH also occur in individuals from the general population who have no identifiable psychiatric or neurological diagnoses. This article reviews research on AVH in nonclinical individuals and provides a cross-disciplinary view of the clinical relevance of these experiences in defining the risk of mental illness and need for care. Prevalence rates of AVH vary according to measurement tool and indicate a continuum of experience in the general population. Cross-sectional comparisons of individuals with AVH with and without need for care reveal similarities in phenomenology and some underlying mechanisms but also highlight key differences in emotional valence of AVH, appraisals, and behavioral response. Longitudinal studies suggest that AVH are an antecedent of clinical disorders when combined with negative emotional states, specific cognitive difficulties and poor coping, plus family history of psychosis, and environmental exposures such as childhood adversity. However, their predictive value for specific psychiatric disorders is not entirely clear. The theoretical and clinical implications of the reviewed findings are discussed, together with directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S255-264
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Volume40 Suppl 4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center.


  • Hallucinations/epidemiology
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotic Disorders/epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment

Cite this