Introduction. The aims of this study were to identify whether responses to paranoid thoughts distinguish patients with psychotic disorders from people in the population who have paranoid thoughts occasionally and to identify factors that are associated with and might explain the different ways of responding.Methods. Paranoid thoughts were assessed in patients diagnosed with a psychotic disorder (n = 32) and a population control sample (n = 34) with the Paranoia Checklist. Responses to paranoid thoughts were assessed with the Reactions to Paranoid Thoughts Scale (RePT) and social support, self-efficacy and cognitive insight were assessed as potential correlates of the responses to paranoid thoughts.Results. The patients showed significantly more depressed, physical and devaluating responses to paranoid thoughts and employed less normalising responses than the controls. The differences in normalising responses were explained by perceived social integration, whereas the differences in depressive responses were explained by the overall levels of depression and partly explained by externality and social integration. Conclusions. Maladaptive responses to paranoid thoughts could be relevant to the pathogenesis and maintenance of persecutory delusions. Interventions aimed at reducing paranoia could benefit from targeting dysfunctional responses to paranoid thoughts and by placing a stronger emphasis on treating depression and improving social integration.
- paranoid delusions