Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) Clinician and patient experience of psychological formulation: a qualitative synthesis using meta-ethnography; 2) Patient and staff views of psychiatric ward activities and efforts to increase choice: a qualitative study; 3) Unpacking the relationship between social anxiety and state paranoia through experimental manipulation of state anxiety.

  • Jara Falkenburg

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Background: Research demonstrates significant overlap between social anxiety (SA) and paranoia, relating to comorbidity, shared psychological processes, and developmental pathways. Taylor and Stopa (2013) suggest heightened anxiety can temporarily shift individuals with trait-SA towards experiencing increased paranoia, but this has not been experimentally investigated. Aims: The present study aimed to test this theory by evaluating the effects of an anxiety-task on state-paranoia and state SA in three groups: those with clinical trait-SA (SA-group), those with both clinical trait-SA and trait paranoia (SAP-group), and healthy controls. Method: 47 participants (twelve SAP-participants, ten SA-participants, and 25 controls) were asked to complete one sociodemographic and four baseline questionnaires (Social Anxiety Interaction and Social Phobia Scales, Green et al. Paranoid Thoughts Scale, and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-Short Form) to evaluate trait-levels of SA, paranoia, and affect, respectively. Participants then completed three Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) before and after an anxiety-task (Bentall Anagrams Task) to assess differences in state-SA, state-paranoia, and state affect. Results: Contrary to previous research, results did not find an effect of anxiety-task on state symptomatology. Although findings supported hypotheses regarding differences between state-SA and state-paranoia scores before the anxiety-task, they therefore did not substantiate the hypothesis that the anxiety-task would lead to increased state-paranoia for individuals with SA. Discussion: This is the first study that aimed to experimentally evaluate Taylor and Stopa’s (2013) hypothesis and one of few to include both clinical groups and controls. Due to failed manipulation of the anxiety-task, the experiment was not a true test of their hypothesis. Several possible reasons are discussed with important implications for research.
Date of Award29 Sept 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorLorna Hogg (Supervisor), Emma Griffith (Supervisor), Cathy Randle-Phillips (Supervisor) & Megan Wilkinson-Tough (Supervisor)

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