Background and objectives: Negative affect and a tendency to "jump to conclusions" (JTC) are associated with paranoia. So far, only negative affect has been examined as a precursor of subsequent paranoia in daily life using experience sampling (ESM). We addressed this research gap and used ESM to test whether JTC fluctuates in daily life, whether it predicts subsequent paranoia, and whether it mediates the effect of negative affect on paranoia. Methods: Thirty-five participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders repeatedly self-reported negative affect, JTC, and paranoia via online questionnaires on two consecutive days. We measured JTC with a paradigm consisting of ambiguous written scenarios. Multilevel linear models were conducted. Results: Most participants showed JTC consistently on two days rather than only on one day. When time was used as a predictor of JTC, significant slope variance indicated that for a subgroup of participants JTC fluctuated over time. For 48% of participants, these fluctuations equaled changes of approximately ±1 point on the four-point JTC scale within one day. There was no mediation. However, negative affect and JTC both significantly predicted subsequent paranoia. Limitations: The ESM assessment period was short and encompassed few assessments (8 in total). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that JTC is both stable (regarding its mere occurrence) and fluctuating simultaneously (regarding its magnitude). Although JTC was not a mediator linking negative affect and paranoia, it did predict paranoia. Further ESM studies on JTC are needed to confirm our findings in longer assessment periods and with other JTC paradigms.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry|
|Early online date||31 Aug 2016|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2017|
- jumping to conclusions
- experience sampling method