Psychological Pathways to Paranoia and Psychotic-Like Experiences in Daily-Life: The Mediating Role of Distinct Affective Disturbances

Manel Monsonet, Nicholas J. Rockwood, Thomas R. Kwapil, Neus Barrantes-Vidal

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1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESIS: Influential models of psychosis indicate that the impact of putative causal factors on positive symptoms might be explained partly through affective disturbances. We aimed to investigate whether pathways from stress and self-esteem to positive symptoms, as well as reversal pathways from symptoms to stress and self-esteem, were mediated through specific affective disturbances across the extended psychosis phenotype. STUDY DESIGN: Using experience sampling methodology, 178 participants (65 high-schizotypy, 74 at-risk mental state, and 39 first-episode psychosis) were assessed on levels of momentary stress, self-esteem, anxiety, sadness, psychotic-like experiences (PLE), and paranoia. Multilevel mediation models were fit to examine indirect effects of each of these pathways. Considering evidence of mediation, each indirect pathway will be combined in a single model to explore their relative contributions. STUDY RESULTS: Anxiety, sadness, and self-esteem mediated the pathways from stress to PLE and paranoia in daily-life. In the pathway to paranoia, sadness, and self-esteem showed larger contributions than anxiety. Pathways from self-esteem to PLE and paranoia were mediated by anxiety and sadness, the later showing a larger contribution. Pathways from symptoms to stress, but not from symptoms to self-esteem, were differently explained by emotional states; sadness lost its mediating effect and anxiety was the most important mediator. Few differences across groups were found. CONCLUSIONS: This study lends support to psychological models of psychosis that highlight the relevance of affective disturbances in the risk and expression of psychosis. Furthermore, specific influences of different negative emotional states were identified, which could enhance psychological treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1065
Number of pages13
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2022


  • at-risk mental states
  • experience sampling
  • first-episode psychosis
  • psychosis
  • self-esteem
  • stress


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