Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Paranoia builds upon feelings of vulnerability. Our clinical experience indicates that negative body image, including concerns regarding weight, may be one source of feeling vulnerable and hence raise the risk of paranoia. There has been no empirical test of an association between body image and paranoia. Our aim was to provide the first test of this issue by examining in epidemiologically representative cohorts the cross-sectional associations between paranoia and a proxy measure of body image. This was an initial exploration of a potentially important but overlooked issue. Data were used from 5515 participants in the US National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R). To validate the findings, the analyses were replicated with 10,113 participants in the US National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescents (NCS-A). Concerns about weight were associated with paranoia in the NCS-R (OR = 1.48, p = 0.006, CI = 1.123, 1.955) and NCS-A (OR = 1.67, p < 0.001, CI = 1.490, 1.873). The associations remained significant after controlling for gender and body mass index. The results show that negative body image and paranoia are associated in the general population, consistent with the idea that paranoia may build upon feelings of vulnerability arising from body image concerns. Studies are needed to examine whether there is a causal relationship.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychiatry Res

Publication Date





136 - 140


Appearance, Obesity, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Adolescent, Adult, Body Image, Body Mass Index, Body Weight, Comorbidity, Cross-Sectional Studies, Emotions, Female, Humans, Male, Paranoid Disorders, Reproducibility of Results, United States