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Recent research has shown that worry is associated with distressing paranoia. Therefore, the aim was to target worry in a therapeutic intervention for individuals with delusions. It was predicted that a worry intervention would reduce levels of worry and paranoia distress. Twenty-four individuals with persistent persecutory delusions and high levels of worry were randomly assigned to receive a four session cognitive-behavioural worry intervention (W-CBT) or treatment as usual (TAU). The worry intervention was specifically designed not to target the content of delusions. In this open-label evaluation, assessments of worry and paranoia were conducted at baseline, at one month (end of treatment) and at two months. The worry intervention achieved a statistically significant reduction in worry which was maintained at two month follow up. A significant reduction in delusional distress was also reported. There was an indication that the worry intervention may also reduce the frequency of paranoid thoughts but this was not statistically significant. In the first trial specifically for persecutory delusions, a brief worry intervention was shown to have benefits. The results support a causal role for worry in paranoid experience.

Original publication




Journal article


J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry

Publication Date





45 - 51


Adult, Antipsychotic Agents, Anxiety, Association, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Delusions, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Paranoid Disorders, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Psychometrics, Retrospective Studies, Surveys and Questionnaires