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Delusion is central to the conceptualization, definition, and identification of schizophrenia. However, in current classifications, the presence of delusions is neither necessary nor sufficient for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, nor is it sufficient to exclude the diagnosis of some other psychiatric conditions. Partly as a consequence of these classification rules, it is possible for delusions to exist transdiagnostically. In this article, we evaluate the extent to which this happens, and in what ways the characteristics of delusions vary according to diagnostic context. We were able to examine their presence and form in delusional disorder, affective disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and dementia, in all of which they have an appreciable presence. There is some evidence that the mechanisms of delusion formation are, at least to an extent, shared across these disorders. This transdiagnostic extension of delusions is an argument for targeting them therapeutically in their own right. However there is a dearth of research to enable the rational transdiagnostic deployment of either pharmacological or psychological treatments.

Original publication




Journal article


Schizophr Bull

Publication Date





273 - 282


delusions, psychiatric disorders, psychological mechanisms, schizophrenia, transdiagnostic, Affective Disorders, Psychotic, Borderline Personality Disorder, Comorbidity, Delusions, Dementia, Humans, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia, Paranoid