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Title: Experiential avoidance in paranoia
Author: Udachina, Alisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 2932
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2012
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It is thought that experiential avoidance (EA), conceptualised as avoidance of unpleasant mental experiences, lies at the heart of psychopathology. The studies included into this thesis investigated the role of EA in the paranoid process using a range of methodologies (experience sampling, questionnaire and experimental) in patient and nonclinical populations. Part of this thesis explored the dynamic relationships between paranoia, self-esteem and EA using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), a structured diary technique which allows the assessment of symptoms, mood and behaviour in the context of daily life. This thesis also examined the role of early experiences with parents in the paranoid process and explored developmental roots of EA. Finally, it examined the use of avoidant strategies in nonclinical and patient populations using both questionnaire and behavioural measures of EA. The data collected suggest that paranoid individuals are highly intolerant of unpleasant mental states and habitually engage in attempts to avoid them. The results indicate that avoidance may be particularly successful in paranoid patients who believe that their persecution is underserved. There was some evidence that although avoidant strategies may be fruitful when cognitive demands are relatively low, their success is significantly compromised by the additional demands leaving paranoid individuals vulnerable to stress. Finally, the results ofthis thesis also indicate that the roots of EA can be traced to early experiences with parents and suggest that suboptimal parenting may foster EA and paranoid thinking later in life. These results are compatible with the attributional model of paranoia which suggests that persecutory delusions arise a result of dysfunctional attempts to avoid unpleasant thoughts about the self. They highlight the dynamic nature of psychological processes involved in paranoia and suggest that psychological interventions targeting EA may alleviate paranoia. 11
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available