A Child–Parent Dyad Study on Adolescent Paranoia and the Influence of Adverse Life Events, Bullying, Parenting Stress, and Family Support

Jess Kingston, Lyn Ellett, Elizabeth Thompson, Brandon Gaudiano, Katarina Krkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paranoid beliefs commonly occur in the general adolescent population. Exposure to adverse life events (ALEs) and/or bullying are important environmental risk factors. The extent to which others, especially parents, are available to help a young person cope with stressful situations may offset this risk.

Study Design
A cross-sectional adolescent-parent dyad design (n = 142 pairs) was used to test whether an adolescent’s perception of being supported by their family, and/or the parent’s perception of stress and burden in their parenting role, moderated the association between environmental risk and adolescent paranoid beliefs.

Study results
Moderation analysis indicated that ALEs were significantly associated with adolescent paranoid beliefs when parents reported high stress and burden in their parenting role. Conversely, at low and moderate levels of parental stress, ALEs were unrelated to paranoid beliefs. Bullying was strongly associated with paranoia, with no moderation effects. The adolescent’s perception of support within their family had no moderating effects.

Findings indicate that the focus of prevention should be shifted beyond just families of adolescents who are experiencing psychosis and/or have high “at-risk” profiles, to families of adolescents exposed to ALEs. Targeted support for parents to help reduce parental stress and burden, and help foster protective family environments even in the face of ALEs, is an important avenue for reducing the risk of paranoid beliefs in adolescents. Further research is required to better understand how to offset the deleterious effect of bullying on paranoid beliefs in adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbersbad119
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2023


  • dyad; adolescent paranoia; adverse life events; social support; parental stress

Cite this