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The model of self-discrepancies (Higgins in Psychol Rev 94:319–340, 1987) serves as theoretical framework to investigate whether a perceived discrepancy between the external and self-image (“self-other”) is uniquely relevant to paranoid symptoms. This is achieved by comparing the effect of “self-other” and “self-ideal” discrepancies on paranoid and depressive symptoms. It is also tested whether emotions such as anxiety and sadness mediate the proposed associations. Self-discrepancies (“self-other” and “self-ideal”) were experimentally induced in a repeated measures design with 60 healthy participants. Symptoms and emotions were compared between both self-discrepancy conditions as well as to a control condition. The findings confirmed the proposed effect of the discrepancy “self-other” on paranoid symptoms and the mediating effect of anxiety. However, the discrepancy “self-ideal” also lead to an increase in paranoid symptoms. The findings also confirmed the effect of the discrepancy “self-ideal” on depressive symptoms and the mediating effect of sadness. It is concluded that the discrepancy “self-ideal” is a specific vulnerability factor for depressive symptoms, which is mediated by sadness. In contrast, paranoid symptoms are not uniquely related to “self-other” discrepancies but can be triggered by both types of self-discrepancies.
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- Are Self-Other Discrepancies a Unique Risk Factor for Paranoid Symptoms?
Maike M. Hartmann
Tania M. Lincoln
- Springer US