The effect of social exclusion on state paranoia and explicit and implicit self-esteem in a non-clinical sample

Stewart, C.; Rogers, F.; Pilch, M.; Stewart, I.; Barnes-Holmes, Y.; Westermann, S. (2017). The effect of social exclusion on state paranoia and explicit and implicit self-esteem in a non-clinical sample. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 57, pp. 62-69. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jbtep.2017.04.001

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Background and objectives: The relationship between self-esteem and paranoia may be influenced by social stress. This study aimed to replicate previous research on the impact ofsocial exclusion on paranoia and self-esteem in a non-clinical sample and to extend this work by examining the effect of exclusion on self-esteem at the ‘implicit’ level. Methods: Non-clinical participants (N 1⁄4 85) were randomly allocated to the Inclusion or Exclusion condition of a virtual ball-toss game (‘Cyberball’). They completed self-reportmeasures of state paranoia and self-esteem, and two implicit measures of self-esteem e theImplicit Association Task (IAT) and Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) eprior to and after exposure to Cyberball. Results: Social exclusion increased state paranoia. This effect was moderated by distress associated with trait paranoia. Exclusion was also associated with decreased self-reported self-esteem, as well as reduced implicit self-esteem on the IAT. Changes in self-reported self-esteem were associated with state paranoia at post-Cyberball. The IRAP indicated that reductions in implicit self-esteem may be due to increases in ‘Me-Negative’ and ‘Others-Positive’ biases (rather than reductions in ‘Me-Positive’ bias). Limitations: The current study involved a non-clinical sample and so findings cannot be generalized to clinical paranoia. Conclusions: These findings are consistent with previous evidence that paranoia is associated with negative self-evaluations, whereas positive self-evaluations can persist in paranoia. They also provide support for the suggestion that investigations of self-esteem in paranoia should extend beyond global self-esteem and might benefit from a distinction between positive and negative components.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Westermann, Stefan


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Salome Irina Rahel Bötschi

Date Deposited:

15 Sep 2017 17:10

Last Modified:

15 Sep 2017 17:21

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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