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Keywords:

  • Psychosis;
  • Emotion;
  • Appraisal;
  • Delusion

Evidence suggests that emotional processes play an important role in the development of delusions. The aim of the present study was to investigate emotion appraisal in individuals with high and low psychosis proneness. We compared 30 individuals who experienced a transient psychotic episode followed by a complete remission with 30 healthy control volunteers. The participants received the Peters et al. Delusion Inventory (PDI) and the Scherer's Emotion Appraisal Questionnaire. We also assessed the IQ and the severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Results revealed that individuals with high psychosis proneness displayed increased PDI scores and more pronounced anxiety compared with individuals with low psychosis proneness. There was a specific pattern of emotion appraisal in individuals with high psychosis proneness. In the case of fear, they achieved higher scores for external causality and immorality, and lower scores for coping ability and self-esteem compared with individuals with low proneness. The PDI scores were weakly related to external causality (r = 0.41) and self-esteem (r = −0.37). In the case of sadness and joy, no emotion appraisal differences were found between participants with low and high proneness. These results suggest that individuals who had a history of psychotic breakdown and therefore exhibit high psychosis proneness display an altered appraisal of fear, emphasizing external circumstances, feeling less power to cope and experience low self-esteem. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioner Message

  • Patients remitted from a transient psychotic episode still exhibit milder forms of delusion proneness.
  • Emotion appraisal for fear is related to delusion proneness.
  • Clinicians should pay a special attention to self-esteem and attribution biases in psychosis-prone individuals.