Instability in self-esteem and paranoia in a general population sample

Viviane Thewissen, Inez Myin-Germeys, Richard Bentall, Ron de Graaf, Wilma Vollebergh, Jim van Os

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Research on the association between paranoia and self-esteem has yielded inconsistent findings. Some studies have indicated an association between paranoia and low self-esteem, while other studies have shown an association with high self-esteem. A plausible explanation for these inconsistencies is that self-esteem is unstable in paranoid individuals.

METHOD: The association between instability in self-esteem and paranoia was assessed in a general population risk set of 4636 individuals using logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: Self-esteem instability was significantly associated with the presence of paranoid symptoms (OR 1.27 95% CI 1.12-1.45) and not with other positive psychotic symptoms (OR 1.09 95% CI 0.96-1.23), adjusted for a range of a priori selected confounders.

CONCLUSION: The finding of a specific association between unstable self-esteem and paranoia is in line with a recent psychological model suggesting that paranoid beliefs arise partly as a consequence of dysfunctional efforts to regulate self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Paranoid Disorders/epidemiology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders/epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept


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