Paranoia in a nonclinical population of college students

Lyn Ellett, Barbara Lopes, Paul Chadwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (SciVal)


The present study examined the incidence of paranoid ideation in a nonclinical population. A sample of 324 college students completed a questionnaire assessing their personal experiences of paranoia, with an emphasis on the cognitive, behavioral, and affective components of their experience. They also completed a general measure of paranoia in nonclinical samples, the Fenigstein and Vanable Paranoia Scale, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. A total of 153 participants reported an experience of paranoia, which included a clear statement of planned intention to harm. This group scored significantly higher on the Paranoia Scale than those who reported no experience of paranoia. Furthermore, greater levels of paranoid ideation were associated with lower self-esteem. The present findings suggest that paranoia is a common human experience, and are consistent with the idea of continuity between normal and abnormal experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-30
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Paranoid Disorders/diagnosis
  • Personality Inventory
  • Phobic Disorders/diagnosis
  • Self Concept
  • Social Desirability
  • Students/psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities


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