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The role of mental imagery in non-clinical paranoia

The role of mental imagery in non-clinical paranoia
The role of mental imagery in non-clinical paranoia
Background & objectives

Cognitive models of paranoia incorporate many of the processes implicated in the maintenance of anxiety disorders. Despite this, the role of mental imagery in paranoia remains under-researched. The current study examined the impact of a self-imagery manipulation in people with high non-clinical paranoia.

Methods

We used a mixed design with one between-subjects variable (type of self-imagery) and one within-subjects variable (time – pre and post imagery manipulation). Thirty participants with high trait paranoia were allocated alternately to a positive or negative self-imagery condition. Scripts were used to elicit positive and negative self-imagery. All participants completed self-report state measures of paranoia, mood, self-esteem and self-compassion.

Results

Group by time interaction effects were found for each of the dependent variables. Positive imagery led to less state paranoia, anxiety and negative affect, and more positive affect, self-esteem and self-compassion, compared with the negative imagery group.

Limitations

This was a non-blind study, limited by allocation method and a brief time-frame which did not allow us to assess longevity of effects. We recruited a relatively small and predominantly female sample of people with high non-clinical paranoia. The study did not include a neutral control condition, a low paranoia comparison group, or a manipulation check following the imagery task.

Conclusions

Self-imagery manipulations may affect paranoia, mood and self-beliefs. If the findings are replicated with clinical groups, and maintained over a longer period, this would suggest that imagery-based interventions targeting persecutory delusions might be usefully examined.
persecutory delusions, paranoia, mental imagery
0005-7916
264-268
Bullock, Gemma
77c4c8bd-7592-41ac-b1b4-cb427c417a19
Newman-Taylor, Katherine
4c05eabd-d425-4c56-8b77-7c275d705bab
Stopa, Luisa
b52f29fc-d1c2-450d-b321-68f95fa22c40
Bullock, Gemma
77c4c8bd-7592-41ac-b1b4-cb427c417a19
Newman-Taylor, Katherine
4c05eabd-d425-4c56-8b77-7c275d705bab
Stopa, Luisa
b52f29fc-d1c2-450d-b321-68f95fa22c40

Bullock, Gemma, Newman-Taylor, Katherine and Stopa, Luisa (2016) The role of mental imagery in non-clinical paranoia. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 50, 264-268. (doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.10.002). (PMID:26492591)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background & objectives

Cognitive models of paranoia incorporate many of the processes implicated in the maintenance of anxiety disorders. Despite this, the role of mental imagery in paranoia remains under-researched. The current study examined the impact of a self-imagery manipulation in people with high non-clinical paranoia.

Methods

We used a mixed design with one between-subjects variable (type of self-imagery) and one within-subjects variable (time – pre and post imagery manipulation). Thirty participants with high trait paranoia were allocated alternately to a positive or negative self-imagery condition. Scripts were used to elicit positive and negative self-imagery. All participants completed self-report state measures of paranoia, mood, self-esteem and self-compassion.

Results

Group by time interaction effects were found for each of the dependent variables. Positive imagery led to less state paranoia, anxiety and negative affect, and more positive affect, self-esteem and self-compassion, compared with the negative imagery group.

Limitations

This was a non-blind study, limited by allocation method and a brief time-frame which did not allow us to assess longevity of effects. We recruited a relatively small and predominantly female sample of people with high non-clinical paranoia. The study did not include a neutral control condition, a low paranoia comparison group, or a manipulation check following the imagery task.

Conclusions

Self-imagery manipulations may affect paranoia, mood and self-beliefs. If the findings are replicated with clinical groups, and maintained over a longer period, this would suggest that imagery-based interventions targeting persecutory delusions might be usefully examined.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 October 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 October 2015
Published date: March 2016
Keywords: persecutory delusions, paranoia, mental imagery
Organisations: Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 383674
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/383674
ISSN: 0005-7916
PURE UUID: f0529429-774d-4289-86fe-ef8a0a99bd0d
ORCID for Katherine Newman-Taylor: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1579-7959

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Nov 2015 11:54
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:13

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