The impact of negative schemas, mood and psychological flexibility on delusional ideation – mediating and moderating effects
Evidence suggests that negative schemas, mood and psychological flexibility are associated with delusional thinking. However, the temporal relationship of these variables has not been investigated. It is hypothesised that, in healthy populations, negative schemas will trigger delusional thinking through the mediating influence of negative mood. The strength of this association is predicted to be moderated by psychological flexibility. A total of 700 participants completed a survey assessing negative schemas, delusional thinking, mood, and psychological flexibility. All measures were re-administered six months later with a sub group of participants (204). Negative schemas significantly predicted higher rates of delusional thinking concurrently. Indirect effect testing revealed that the relationship between negative schemas and delusional thinking was partially mediated through anxiety, and that this indirect effect was moderated by psychological flexibility. Longitudinal cross-lag analysis showed that Time 1 anxiety predicted delusional ideation over time and the effect of Time 1 negative schemas on Time 2 delusional ideation was fully mediated by Time 2 anxiety. These results describe the processes by which negative schemas promote delusional thinking in healthy individuals. It highlights the potential of targeting anxiety and rigid coping styles in therapy to reduce the risk and impact of psychotic symptoms.