Is there a functional way of responding to paranoid intrusions? Development of the Reactions to Paranoid Thoughts Scale

Tania M. Lincoln, Rebekka Reumann, Steffen Moritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. Although many people experience paranoid thoughts occasionally, most do not develop clinically relevant paranoia, possibly due to a more functional way of responding. The aim of this study was to create a scale to investigate how healthy individuals react to paranoid thoughts. Methods. Paranoid thoughts were assessed with the Paranoia Checklist (Freeman et al., 2005). The 69-item Reactions to Paranoid Thoughts Scale (RePT) was created in a series of steps. Interviews were conducted to create a preliminary set of items. Results. Principal components analysis of the data from a healthy sample (N=408) revealed a stable 10-factor solution explaining 69% of the total variance. These factors included depressive, composed, communicative, rational, believing, devaluating, physical, positive distracting, normalising, and concealing reactions to paranoid thoughts. Cronbach's alphas for these factors ranged from.77 to.97. Overall, the strength and pattern of correlations with scales that assess reactions to unwanted thoughts or stressors indicated good convergent and divergent validity of the factors. The most frequently applied reactions to paranoid thoughts were normalising, rational, and composed responses. Persons with more frequent paranoid thoughts were characterised by increased levels of dysfunctional reactions, such as depressive, believing, and concealing reactions in comparison to persons with less frequent paranoid thoughts. Conclusions. It may prove beneficial to teach persons at risk of psychosis or those with attenuated symptoms new ways of responding to paranoid thoughts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-396
Number of pages20
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Coping
  • Dysfunctional
  • Paranoia
  • Reactions


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