Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Development and Validation of the Beliefs about Paranoia Scale (Short Form)

  • Andrew I. Gumley (a1), Kate Gillan (a1), Anthony P. Morrison (a2) and Matthias Schwannauer (a3)


Background: This study reports the development and revision of the Beliefs about Paranoia Scale (BaPS), a self-report measure to assess metacognitive beliefs about paranoia in non-patients. We aimed to confirm the factor structure of a revised 50-item version of the measure and test the specific hypotheses that positive beliefs about paranoia would predict frequency of paranoia, and that negative beliefs about paranoia would predict distress associated with paranoia. Method: 185 non-patient participants completed questionnaires assessing beliefs about paranoia, thought control, self-consciousness, anxiety, depression and paranoia. Results: The results showed that the original four-factor solution could not be replicated. Instead a three-factor solution comprising Negative Beliefs about Paranoia, Paranoia as a Survival Strategy, and Normalizing Beliefs was developed. The revised 18-item measure showed good internal consistency. Stepwise regression analysis showed that, BaPS-negative beliefs accounted for 34% of the variance with R2 of 0.339, with a multiple R of 0.585 in relation to frequency of paranoia. In relation to distress arising from paranoia, stepwise regression analysis showed that BaPS-negative beliefs accounted for 34% of the variance with R2 of 0.339, with a multiple R of 0.585. In both analyses, BaPS-Survival strategy showed a small but significant incremental increase in the variance accounted for in the overall model. Conclusions: These findings suggest that a metacognitive approach to the conceptualization of paranoia as a strategy for managing interpersonal threat may have some utility. The clinical implications of the findings are also discussed.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to Andrew Gumley, Centre for Population and Health Sciences, Division of Community Based Sciences, University of Glasgow, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1055 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0XH, UK. E-mail:


Hide All
American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Rev. 4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Baker, C. A. and Morrison, A. P. (1998). Cognitive processes in auditory hallucinations: attributional biases and metacognition. Psychological Medicine, 28, 11991208.
Bentall, R. P., Jackson, H. G. and Pilgrim, D. (1988). Abandoning the concept of schizophrenia: some implications of validity arguments for psychological research into psychotic phenomena. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 27, 156169.
Bentler, P. M. (1995). Comparative fit indices in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238246.
Bentler, P. M. and Bonett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88, 588606.
Bowerman, B. L. and O'Connell, R. T. (1990). Linear Statistical Models: an applied approach (2nd edn.). Belmont, CA: Duxbury.
Browne, M. W. and Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In Bollen, K. A. and Long, J. S. (Eds.), Testing Structural Equation Models (pp. 136162). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Cartwright-Hatton, S. and Wells, A. (1997). Beliefs about worry and intrusions: the metacognitions questionnaire and its correlates. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 11, 279296.
Carver, C. S. and Scheier, M. F. (1981). Attention and Self-Regulation: a control theory approach to human behaviour. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Cattell, R. B. (1966). The Scree test for number of factors. Mulitvariate Behavioural Research, 1, 245276.
Combs, D. R., Penn, D. and Fenigstein, A. (2002). Ethnic differences in sub-clinical paranoia: an expansion of norms of the paranoia scale. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 8, 248256.
Cook, R. D. and Weisberg, S. (1982). Residuals and Influence in Regression. New York: Chapman and Hall.
Durbin, J. and Watson, G. S. (1951). Testing for serial correlation in least squares regression, II. Biometrika, 30, 159178.
Field, A. (2000). Discovering Statistics using SPSS for Windows. London: Sage Publications.
Fenigstein, A. (1984). Self-consciousness and the over-perception of self as a target. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 860870.
Fenigstein, A. (1994). Paranoia. In Friedman, H. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 3, (p. 83). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F. and Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: assessment and theory. Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 43, 522527.
Fenigstein, A. and Vanable, P. A. (1992). Paranoia and self-consciousness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 129138.
Foster, C., Startup, H., Potts, L. and Freeman, D. (2010). A randomised controlled trial of a worry intervention for individuals with persistent persecutory delusions. Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 41, 4551.
Freeman, D. (2007). Suspicious minds: the psychology of persecutory delusions. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 425457.
Freeman, D. and Garety, P. A. (1999). Worry, worry processes and dimensions of delusions: an exploratory investigation of a role for anxiety processes in the maintenance of delusional distress. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 27, 4762.
Freeman, D. and Garety, P. A. (2000). Comments on the contents of persecutory delusions: does the definition require clarification? British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 39, 407414.
Freeman, D. and Garety, P. A. (2003). Connecting neurosis and psychosis: the direct influence of emotion on delusions and hallucinations. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41, 923947.
Freeman, D., Garety, P. A., Bebbington, P. E., Smith, B., Rollinson, R., Fowler, D., Kuipers, E., Katarzyna, R. and Dunn, G. (2005a). Psychological investigation of structure of paranoia in a non-clinical population. British Journal of Psychiatry, 186, 427435.
Freeman, D., Garety, P. A., Bebbington, P., Slater, M., Kuipers, E., Fowler, D., Green, C., Jordan, J., Ray, K. and Dunn, G. (2005b). The psychology of persecutory ideation II: a virtual reality experimental study. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 193, 309315.
Freeman, D., Pugh, K., Vorontsova, N. and Southgate, L. (2009). Insomnia and paranoia. Schizophrenia Research, 108, 280284.
Freeman, D., Slater, M., Bebbington, P. E., Garety, P. A., Kuipers, E., Fowler, D., Met, A., Read, C., Jordan, J. and Vinayagamoorthy, V. (2003). Can virtual reality be used to investigate persecutory ideation? Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 191, 509514.
Green, S. B. (1991). How many subjects does it take to do a regression analysis? Multivariate Behavioural Research, 26, 499510.
Green, C., Freeman, D., Kuipers, E., Bebbington, P., Fowler, D., Dunn, , , G. and Garety, P. (2008). Measuring ideas of persecution and reference: the Green et al. Paranoid Thoughts Scale (G-PTS). Psychological Medicine, 38, 101111.
Hu, L. T. and Bentler, P. M. (1995). Evaluating model fit. In Hoyle, R. H. (Ed.), Structural Equation Modelling: concepts, issues and applications (pp. 7799). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Johns, L. C., Cannon, M., Singleton, M., Murray, R. M., Farrell, M., Brugha, T., Bebbington, P., Jenkins, R. and Meltzer, H. (2004). The prevalence and correlates of self reported psychotic symptoms in the British population. British Journal of Psychiatry, 185, 298305.
Kline, P. (1994). An Easy Guide to Factor Analysis. London: Routlege.
Mathews, R., Wilson, W., Humphreys, D., Lowe, J. and Weithe, K. (1993). Depersonalisation after marijuana smoking. Biological Psychiatry, 33, 431441.
Morrison, A. P., Gumley, A., Ashcroft, K., Manousos, R., White, R. and Kingdon, D. (in press). Metacognition and persecutory delusions: a validation of the Beliefs about Paranoia Scale in a clinical population. British Journal of Clinical Psychology.
Morrison, A. P., Gumley, A. I., Schwannauer, M., Campbell, M., Gleeson, A., Griffin, E. and Gillan, K. (2005). The Beliefs about Paranoia Scale: preliminary validation of a metacognitive approach to conceptualizing paranoia. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 33, 153164.
Morrison, A. and Petersen, T. (2003). Trauma, metacognition and hallucinations. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 31, 235246.
Morrison, A. P., Renton, J. C., Dunn, H., Williams, S. and Bentall, R. P. (2003). Cognitive Therapy for Psychosis: a formulation-based approach. London: Psychology Press.
Morrison, A. P. and Wells, A. (2000). Thought control strategies in schizophrenia: a comparison with non-patients. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 12051209.
Morrison, A. P. and Wells, A. (2007). Relationships between worry, psychotic experiences and emotional distress in patients with schizophrenia spectrum diagnoses and comparisons with anxious and non-patient groups. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 15931600.
Morrison, A. P., Wells, A. and Nothard, S. (2002). Cognitive and emotional predictors of predisposition to hallucinations in non-patients. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 41, 259270.
Myers, R. (1990). Classical and Modern Regression with Applications (2nd edn). Boston, MA: Duxbury.
Peters, E. R., Joseph, S. A. and Garety, P. A. (1999). Measurement of delusional ideation in the normal population: introducing the PDI (Peters et al., Delusions Inventory). Schizophrenia Bulletin, 25, 553576.
Raune, D., Kuipers, E. and Bebbington, P. (1999). Psychosocial Stress and Delusional and Verbal Auditory Hallucination Themes in First Episode Psychosis: implications for early intervention. Paper presented at Psychological Treatments of Schizophrenia, Oxford, 23–24 September.
Robson, C. (1993). Real World Research: a resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers. Oxford: Blackwell.
Smari, J., Stefansson, S. and Thorgilsson, H. (1994). Paranoia, self consciousness and social cognition in schizophrenics. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 18, 387399.
Startup, M., Freeman, D. and Garety, P. A. (2007). Persecutory delusions and catastrophic worry in psychosis: developing an understanding of delusional distress and persistence. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 523537.
Tabachnick, B. G. and Fidell, L. S. (1996). Using Multivariate Statistics. New York: HarperCollins.
Tien, A. Y. and Anthony, J. C. (1990). Epidemiological analysis of alcohol and drug use as risk factors for psychotic experiences. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 178, 473480.
Wells, A. (1995). Metacognition and worry: a cognitive model of generalized anxiety disorder. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23, 301320.
Wells, A. and Davies, M. (1994). The Thought Control Questionnaire: a measure of individual differences in the control of unwanted thoughts. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 32, 871878.
Wells, A. and Matthews, G. (1994). Attention and Emotion: a clinical perspective. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
White, R. G. and Gumley, A. I. (2009). Post-psychotic PTSD: associations with fear of recurrence and intolerance of uncertainty. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 197, 841849.
White, R. and Gumley, A. I. (in press). Associations between intolerance of uncertainty, distress and beliefs about symptoms following psychosis. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.
Zigmond, A. S. and Snaith, R. P. (1983). The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 67, 361370.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The Development and Validation of the Beliefs about Paranoia Scale (Short Form)

  • Andrew I. Gumley (a1), Kate Gillan (a1), Anthony P. Morrison (a2) and Matthias Schwannauer (a3)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.

The Development and Validation of the Beliefs about Paranoia Scale (Short Form)

  • Andrew I. Gumley (a1), Kate Gillan (a1), Anthony P. Morrison (a2) and Matthias Schwannauer (a3)
Submit a response


No Comments have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *