The role of loneliness and negative schemas in the moment-to-moment dynamics between social anxiety and paranoia

Anson Kai Chun Chau, Suzanne Ho-wai So*, Emma Barkus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Social anxiety and paranoia often co-occur and exacerbate each other. While loneliness and negative schemas contribute to the development of social anxiety and paranoia separately, their role in the development of the two symptoms co-occurring is rarely considered longitudinally. This study examined the moment-to-moment relationship between social anxiety and paranoia, as well as the effects of loneliness and negative schemas on both experiences individually and coincidingly. A total of 134 non-clinical young adults completed experience sampling assessments of momentary social anxiety, paranoia, and loneliness ten times per day for six consecutive days. Participants’ negative-self and -other schemas were assessed with the Brief Core Schema Scale. Dynamic structural equation modelling revealed a bidirectional relationship between social anxiety and paranoia across moments. Loneliness preceded increases in both symptoms in the next moment. Higher negative-self schema was associated with a stronger link from paranoia to social anxiety; whereas higher negative-other schema was associated with a stronger link from social anxiety to paranoia. Our findings support the reciprocal relationship between social anxiety and paranoia. While loneliness contributes to the development of social anxiety and paranoia, negative self and other schemas appear to modify the relationships between the two symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20775
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2023

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