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An Investigation of the Factors Associated with Paranoia in the General Population

Gulliver, Katie (2014) An Investigation of the Factors Associated with Paranoia in the General Population Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Paranoia is thought to exist on a continuum with 10-15% of the general population experiencing high levels ( e.g. Freeman, 2007). Many different cognitive and affective factors have been linked to the experience of paranoia. These include theory of mind, jumping to conclusions bias, attributional bias, self-esteem, low mood, anxiety and social anxiety. However, there is mixed evidence that each of these factors is related to paranoia. One potential reason for this is that few studies have looked at the inter-relationships between these factors. Some studies have investigated the role of several factors together but most of this research has been done in the clinical population which makes it difficult to isolate paranoia from other clinical symptoms which may have a confounding effect on the findings. The aim of this study was to contribute to the current understanding of paranoia by determining which factors are uniquely related to the experience of paranoia and the direct and indirect relationships between these factors and paranoia. 151 participants aged between 18 and 70 completed an online survey consisting of measures of paranoia, cognitive and affective theory of mind, attributional bias, jumping to conclusions bias, self-esteem, low mood, generalised anxiety and social anxiety. Cognitive theory of mind, social anxiety and generalised anxiety were found to predict paranoia. Furthermore, mediation analysis indicated indirect relationships between self-esteem and paranoia, and externalising bias and paranoia, through social anxiety. The findings build upon previous studies in the clinical population and suggest that social anxiety plays a key role in the experience of paranoia.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Gulliver, Katie
Date : June 2014
Copyright Disclaimer : Thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of Surrey. Copyright remains with the author.
Contributors :
Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 19 Feb 2019 16:17
Last Modified : 19 Feb 2019 16:37

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