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An experimental investigation into the role of ruminative and mindful self-focus in non-clinical paranoia

Lookup NU author(s): Kristina Askew, Dr Rob Dudley


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© 2016 Background & objectives Ruminative self-focus is a maladaptive form of emotional processing and is linked to distress, whereas mindful self-focus is adaptive and linked to low distress. However, the effects of these different modes of self-focus have not yet been examined in symptoms associated with psychotic disorders, such as paranoid ideation. This study aimed to explore whether inducing ruminative self-focus maintains paranoid ideation whilst inducing mindful self-focus reduces paranoid ideation. Method Thirty-two non-clinical participants engaged in a paranoia induction prime and then took part in an eight-minute ruminative self-focus induction and an eight-minute mindful self-focus induction. Results Following an induction of paranoia, mindful self-focus significantly decreased levels of paranoia, whereas ruminative self-focus had no significant impact on levels of paranoia, and therefore was interpreted as having maintained paranoia. Limitations The study used non clinical participants and the level of paranoid ideation experienced was fairly mild, which limits generalisation to clinical levels of distress. Additionally, the mechanism by which rumination and mindful self-focus have their effects was not examined. Conclusions The results add to the growing body of evidence that there are two distinct modes of self-focus that have differential effects on emotional processing. These findings also demonstrate the potential benefit of interventions targeting rumination in paranoid ideation with mindful self-focus.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McKie A, Askew K, Dudley R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry

Year: 2017

Volume: 54

Pages: 170-177

Print publication date: 01/03/2017

Online publication date: 30/07/2016

Acceptance date: 28/07/2016

ISSN (print): 0005-7916

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7943

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2016.07.014


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