Targeting the link between loneliness and paranoia via an interventionist-causal model framework

Anton Gollwitzer, Magdalena Wilczynska, Edo Sebastian Jaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Targeting the antecedents of paranoia may be one potential method to reduce or prevent paranoia. For instance, targeting a potential antecedent of paranoia – loneliness – may reduce paranoia. Our first research question was whether loneliness heightens subclinical paranoia and whether negative affect may mediate this effect. Second, we wondered whether this potential effect could be targeted via two interventionist pathways in line with an interventionist-causal model approach: (1) decreasing loneliness, and (2) intervening on the potential mediator – negative affect. In Study 1 (N = 222), recollecting an experience of companionship reduced paranoia in participants high in pre-manipulation paranoia but not in participants low in pre-manipulation paranoia. Participants recollecting an experience of loneliness, on the other hand, exhibited increased paranoia, and this effect was mediated by negative affect. In Study 2 (N = 196), participants who utilized an emotion-regulation strategy, cognitive reappraisal, to regulate the negative affect associated with loneliness successfully attenuated the effect of loneliness on paranoia. Targeting the effect of loneliness on paranoia by identifying interventionist pathways may be one promising route for reducing and preventing subclinical paranoia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Cognitive reappraisal
  • Interventionist-causal model
  • Loneliness
  • Subclinical paranoia


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