Investigating the Relationship between Paranoia, Attachment and Victimisation in a Student Population.

Prof Doc Thesis

Deller, Paul 2017. Investigating the Relationship between Paranoia, Attachment and Victimisation in a Student Population. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsDeller, Paul
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The increasing popularity of dimensional conceptualisations of paranoia has seen a proliferation in research dedicated to this area of study. Within the literature there exists a desire to expound the social and psychological processes underlying the paranoid experience. Both adverse attachment experiences and victimisation have been theorised to contribute to the development and maintenance of a proclivity for suspicious thinking. The current study explores the respective and combined influences of attachment and victimisation on paranoia in a student sample to generate new ideas about factors that may mediate trust/mistrust. The study employed a qualitative design with quantitative measures to aid recruitment and offer a contextualisation of the occurrence of paranoia in a sample of university students. London-based university students (n= 160) completed a quantitative questionnaire measuring the construct of paranoia. Scales measuring participants’ attachment patterns and experiences of discrimination were also incorporated. Ten participants (four high paranoia scorers, and six low paranoia scorers) were subsequently interviewed with respect to how they made sense of their experiences of attachments/relationships and victimisation in relation to their perceptions of trust/mistrust in others. A contextualist approach to grounded theory was used to analyse the data collected from the interviews. Four core categories were constructed including: Effects of Adversity; Ameliorative Relationships; Understanding Other; and The Examined Life. The constructed categories appeared to reflect the processes of how participants’ perceptions of others (including issues of trust/mistrust) following positive/adverse attachment and relational experiences, and incidents of victimisation were mediated through reflective processes. Implications for future research and practice are explored.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Jan 2018
Publisher's version
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