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Schizophr Bull. 2009 Sep;35(5):994-1002. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbn033. Epub 2008 May 20.

Attributional style in delusional patients: a comparison of remitted paranoid, remitted nonparanoid, and current paranoid patients with nonpsychiatric controls.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44240, USA.


Many studies have found that people experiencing persecutory delusions have a marked tendency to use external-personal attributions when establishing the causes of negative events. Although nonclinical populations also tend to attribute negative events to external causes, those causes are typically believed to be universal in nature, rather than personal. The central goal of the present study was to investigate whether individuals with remitted persecutory delusions would display this external-personal bias regarding negative events, in comparison to remitted patients whose delusions were not paranoid in nature and to nonpsychiatric controls. Results indicate that currently paranoid patients were significantly more likely than all other groups, including the remitted paranoid group, to use external-personal attributions in negative events. Interestingly, all patient groups also were found to be significantly more likely than the controls to use internal-personal and internal-universal attributions when explaining negative events.

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