Fluctuations in self-esteem and paranoia in the context of daily life

Viviane Thewissen, Richard P Bentall, Tania Lecomte, Jim van Os, Inez Myin-Germeys

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Studies investigating the relationship between self-esteem and paranoia have specifically focused on self-esteem level, but have neglected the dynamic aspects of self-esteem. In the present article, the authors investigated the relationship between self-esteem and paranoia in two different ways. First, 154 individuals ranging across the continuum in level of paranoia were studied with the Experience Sampling Method (a structured self-assessment diary technique) to assess the association between trait paranoia and level and fluctuation of self-esteem in daily life. Results showed that trait paranoia was associated with both lower levels and higher instability of self-esteem. Second, the temporal relationship between momentary (state) paranoia and self-esteem was investigated in the daily life of these individuals. Results showed that a decrease in self-esteem was associated with an immediate increase in paranoia. The findings indicate that paranoid individuals are not only characterized by a lower level of self-esteem but also by more fluctuations in their self-esteem and that fluctuations in self-esteem predict the degree of subsequent paranoia. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that paranoia is associated with dysfunctional strategies of self-esteem regulation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-53
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


    • Adolescent
    • Adult
    • Aged
    • Humans
    • Life Change Events
    • Middle Aged
    • Schizophrenia, Paranoid/psychology
    • Self Concept
    • Surveys and Questionnaires


    Dive into the research topics of 'Fluctuations in self-esteem and paranoia in the context of daily life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this