Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 97–107 | Cite as

Social relationships and quality of life moderate distress associated with delusional ideation

  • Michelle H. LimEmail author
  • John F. Gleeson
  • Henry J. Jackson
  • Katya C. Fernandez
Original Paper



In a previous study, individuals who followed a particular new religious movement (NRM) reported significantly less distress even though they reported similar levels of delusional ideation when compared with individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders. Protective factors such as social relationship quality and quality of life (QOL) were hypothesized to explain attenuated distress associated with delusional ideation.


NRM individuals (n = 29), individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders (n = 25), and control individuals (n = 63) were recruited. Psychotic symptoms, delusion-proneness, and facets of social relationships quality and QOL were examined across group. Potential moderators of the relationship between group membership and distress were further examined in multiple regression models.


NRM participants reported more social relationships that were of higher quality (as demonstrated by more crisis supports, unique and overlap supports, more helpful supports and more reciprocated supports) than individuals with psychotic disorders. NRM participants also reported significantly higher QOL than individuals with psychotic disorders. Furthermore, NRM participants reported more distinct and less reciprocated supports, and significantly higher psychological, environmental, and total QOL, when compared with control participants. The relationship between group membership, delusional ideation, and distress was moderated by relationship reciprocity as well as by total QOL.


Findings highlight the importance of establishing healthy reciprocal social relationships and improving QOL in people diagnosed with psychotic disorders, as these factors may act as a buffer against distress associated with delusional beliefs.


Psychosis Delusional ideation Distress Social relationships Quality of life 



We are grateful to the individuals who participated in this study.

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This study was approved by the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee, Melbourne Health and Eastern Health Human Research Ethics Committee.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle H. Lim
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • John F. Gleeson
    • 3
  • Henry J. Jackson
    • 2
  • Katya C. Fernandez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWashington University in St LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Melbourne School of Psychological SciencesThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of PsychologyAustralian Catholic UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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