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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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156. Persecutory Ideation and Social Appraisals within a Clinical Sample

Background: Persecutory ideation – the groundless belief that one is being maliciously targeted – commonly features in serious mental illnesses. Clinical levels of persecutory ideation are associated with suspicious judgments of others and social isolation. However, performance-based measures are rare.

Objective: To determine the utility of task performance in assessing psychiatric symptom severity, we examined the relationship between persecutory ideation and social appraisals. We also aimed to replicate findings that persecutory ideation severity is associated with reduced correlations between appraisals of trustworthiness and attractiveness (Haut & MacDonald, 2010).

Methods: Forty-two psychiatric patients (17 female; mean age = 29.2 years) completed a social rating task in which randomized series of faces were rated on attractiveness, trustworthiness, and surprise. Self-reported persecutory ideation was recorded with the Green et al. Paranoia Thought Scale (2008).

Results: Self-reported persecutory ideation correlated with clinical measures (r=0.72; p>0.001). However, there was no relationship between attractiveness-trustworthiness correlations (mean r=0.35; t=9.95) and persecutory ideation severity. Rating speed was consistent across rating category and symptom severity.

Discussion: Current results suggest that task-based social appraisals inadequately predict persecutory ideation severity. Future analyses will compare social appraisal ratings to other social decision-making tasks, and compare results to those found in matched controls.

Anita Kwashie
University of Minnesota

Rebecca Kazinka
University of Minnesota

Danielle Pratt
University of Minnesota

Saaraa Ameri
University of Minnesota

Naomi Skarsgard
University of Minnesota

Sylia Wilson
University of Minnesota

Angus MacDonald, III
University of Minnesota


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