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Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014 Dec 22;11:33-40. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S73906. eCollection 2015.

Defensive function of persecutory delusion and discrepancy between explicit and implicit self-esteem in schizophrenia: study using the Brief Implicit Association Test.

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Department of Psychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.
Gojouyama Hospital, Nara, Japan.
Yashio Hospital, Saitama, Japan.
Department of Psychiatry, Kyoto Second Red Cross Hospital, Kyoto, Japan.



If delusions serve as a defense mechanism in schizophrenia patients with paranoia, then they should show normal or high explicit self-esteem and low implicit self-esteem. However, the results of previous studies are inconsistent. One possible explanation for this inconsistency is that there are two types of paranoia, "bad me" (self-blaming) paranoia and "poor me" (non-self-blaming) paranoia. We thus examined implicit and explicit self-esteem and self-blaming tendency in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. We hypothesized that patients with paranoia would show lower implicit self-esteem and only those with non-self-blaming paranoia would experience a discrepancy between explicit and implicit self-esteem.


Participants consisted of patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder recruited from a day hospital (N=71). Participants were assessed for psychotic symptoms, using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), and self-blaming tendency, using the brief COPE. We also assessed explicit self-esteem, using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), implicit self-esteem, using Brief Implicit Association Test (BIAT), and discrepancy between explicit and implicit self-esteem.


Contrary to our hypothesis, implicit self-esteem in paranoia and nonparanoia showed no statistical difference. As expected, only patients with non-self-blaming paranoia experienced a discrepancy between explicit and implicit self-esteem; other groups showed no such discrepancy.


These results suggest that persecutory delusion plays a defensive role in non-self-blaming paranoia.


coping style; external attribution; poor me paranoia; remitted paranoid delusion

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