Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) Compassion-focused therapy for trauma in people with learning disabilities: a conceptual review; 2) How stroke patients and carers experience an early supported discharge service: service improvement driven by service-user perspectives; 3) An experimental investigation into the effect of state-anxiety on state-paranoia in people experiencing psychosis.

  • Megan Cowles

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Background and Objectives: The threat-anticipation model of paranoia suggests that a number of factors interact to form and maintain paranoia, with anxiety playing a key role. There is strong evidence to suggest that anxiety is associated with paranoia in clinical and non-clinical samples. However, no research to date has directly manipulated anxiety to investigate if state-anxiety has a causal role in state-paranoia in clinical populations. Methods: 22 participants with a psychosis-spectrum diagnosis took part in a repeatedmeasures, experimental, cross-over design. Participants took part in a neutral-mood and an anxious-mood induction with levels of state-anxiety, state-affect and state-paranoia being measured before and after each condition. Results: State-paranoia was significantly higher after the anxious condition compared to the neutral condition. State-anxiety and state-paranoia were significant predictors of levels of state-paranoia after the anxious condition. When both predictors were included in a regression model, only negative-affect was a significant predictor of state-paranoia after the anxious condition. Limitations: There were a number of methodological limitations that are outlined in the discussion. Conclusions: State-anxiety and negative-affect may both be involved in the maintenance of paranoia in clinical populations, as predicted by the threat-anticipation model. However, negative-affect may be more important in state-paranoia than state-anxiety in clinical populations. Interventions that seek to reduce state-affect may be beneficial in managing state-paranoia. Further research is warranted to explore the suggested clinical and theoretical implications of these findings.
Date of Award18 Sept 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorLorna Hogg (Supervisor) & Cathy Randle-Phillips (Supervisor)

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