Gender and the Constructions of Paranoid Experiences in the General Population

Prof Doc Thesis

Huggins, E. 2017. Gender and the Constructions of Paranoid Experiences in the General Population. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsHuggins, E.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Existing research has continued to demonstrate that experiences of paranoia are best understood as lying on a continuum, across both clinical and non-clinical populations. Within the non-clinical population, experiences of paranoia have been associated with gender, with the predominant pattern being a higher prevalence rate amongst males. The aim of this study was to further investigate this relationship, utilising a qualitative and discursive approach to data collection and analysis. This approach was chosen in order to address concerns with the predominantly reductive methodologies commonly utilised in investigations of both gender and paranoia.
The culturally available discourses of ‘paranoia’ and ‘gender’ were investigated through conducting semi-structured interviews with nine interviewees, recruited from a non-clinical, student population. Transcripts of interviews were subsequently analysed using Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA).
The findings of the study demonstrated gendered aspects of discursive constructions of paranoia, as well as ways in which men and women are positioned differently within discourse, and the resultant potential consequences for individual subjective experience. Common constructions of paranoia in men were of an experience related to external and physical threats, expressed through an unpredictable and aggressive manner; whilst paranoia in women was constructed as more normalised and based in social and intimate relationships, expressed in an open manner, and shared with others. Implications of these findings suggest that considerations of gender should be brought more to the fore in both research and clinical practice, to provide a more nuanced understanding of the experience of paranoia.

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