Objective. A number of cognitive biases have been identified relevant to persecutory thought (e.g. exaggerated self-serving bias). Moreover, findings of increased depressed mood in conjunction with high levels of self-esteem have contributed to theories of persecutory ideation (e.g. Bentall, Kinderman, Kaney, 1994). Using a nonclinical sample, the present study sought to expand upon previous research by examining the linear relationship between persecutory ideation and multiple clinical and social cognitive variables.
Design. A cross-sectional design was used. Correlational and multiple regression analyses were conducted.
Method. One hundred and ninety-three undergraduate students were administered a battery of questionnaires which assessed the following domains: Paranoid ideation, depression, social anxiety, self-monitoring, attributional style and self-esteem.
Results. Higher levels of paranoid ideation were significantly associated with greater depressed mood, social anxiety and avoidance, evaluation apprehension, self-monitoring and lower self-esteem. There were no significant associations between paranoid ideation and attributional biases.
Conclusions. These findings suggest that mood, anxiety and perceptions of the self are related to paranoid ideation in a nonclinical sample. These findings are tempered, however, by studying a nonclinical sample and the self-report measures of paranoid ideation that might be assessing multiple aspects of paranoid thought (e.g. ideas of reference).