Mindfulness for paranoia, loneliness and forgiveness

Charlotte Snape

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Paranoia is widely recognised as an experience that is common in the general population and associated with reduced emotional wellbeing and social functioning, making it an experience for which effective interventions are warranted. Preliminary findings suggest mindfulness is an intervention of potential value. There are various types of meditative practice and a growing interest in comparing the clinical utility of different meditations. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effectiveness of two distinct mindfulness practices: insight and loving kindness meditations. An idiographic approach to non-clinical paranoia was taken by using an idiosyncratic, multi-faceted measure, assessing change across the key dimensions of paranoia. The study also explored the effects of insight and loving kindness meditation on the associated interpersonal constructs of loneliness and forgiveness.

An adult sample consisting of individuals higher in non-clinical paranoia was used (n= 100). Participants were randomly allocated to one of two intervention conditions: insight or loving kindness meditation. The intervention involved two-weeks of 10-minute daily-guided mindfulness practice. Measures of paranoia, mindfulness, loneliness and forgiveness were administered at three time-points: baseline, post intervention and one-month follow-up. The results found both insight and loving kindness mindfulness to be comparably effective in significantly reducing non-clinical paranoia across the key dimensions of conviction, preoccupation, impact and distress. Both meditative practices also resulted in significant reductions in loneliness and increases in forgiveness and mindfulness pre to post intervention. All gains were maintained at the one-month follow-up. No differential effects were found between conditions, suggesting the two meditative practices were equally effective on all variables studied. This study strengthens existing evidence for the effectiveness of insight meditation on non-clinical paranoia, and provides novel findings of the utility of loving kindness meditations for this experience. It is also the first demonstration of the effectiveness of both insight and loving kindness practices on loneliness and forgiveness using a comparative randomised design. The findings provide a foundation for further research examining the comparative effects of different mindfulness practices, which could potentially have important implications for the treatment of distressing interpersonal experiences in both clinical and non-clinical populations.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Ellett, Lyn, Supervisor
  • Vosper, Jane, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Nov 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


  • mindfulness
  • non-clinical paranoia
  • loneliness
  • forgiveness

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