Socioeconomic Status and Paranoia: The Role of Life Hassles, Self-Mastery, and Striving to Avoid Inferiority

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Paranoid ideation is more common in the general population than previously thought, and it is associated with low socioeconomic status. Daily life hassles, self-mastery, and striving to avoid inferiority may partly account for this association, but these factors have not been examined in relation to paranoid thoughts. Two hundred fifteen individuals from the general population completed self-report assessments of paranoid thoughts during the last month, daily life hassles, self-mastery, striving to avoid inferiority, and socioeconomic classification. A greater number of daily hassles, low self-mastery, and insecure striving were all associated with greater levels of paranoid thinking. Each variable was associated with markers of socioeconomic status. This study demonstrates for the first time the association of paranoid thoughts with life hassles, self-mastery, and striving to avoid inferiority. Each of the factors examined may be a plausible candidate to account for why lower socioeconomic status is associated with greater perceptions of threat from other people.

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