Subjective wellbeing in psychosis: Mediating effects of psychological distress on happiness levels amongst individuals diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia


  • Pawel D. Mankiewicz National Health Service, UK (previously: University of Lincoln, UK)
  • David M. Gresswell University of Lincoln, UK
  • Colin Turner National Health Service, UK


subjective wellbeing, happiness, satisfaction with life, positive affect, psychosis, paranoid schizophrenia, positive clinical psychology


A correlational study examined the suppositions of Headey and Wearing’s four-dimension model of subjective wellbeing (SWB) and psychological distress amongst people experiencing psychosis. The research objective was to replicate the model with the studied sample and to examine how emotional distress resulting from psychosis affects the individuals’ satisfaction with life and positive affect levels. Forty-seven individuals with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia completed self-report measures of psychoticism, paranoid ideation, depression and anxiety (Brief Symptom Inventory), positive affect (Affect Balance Scale), and life satisfaction (Satisfaction With Life Scale). Correlational patterns of the four-dimension model were replicated with individuals experiencing psychosis. Although the levels of depression and anxiety were clearly elevated in comparison with general population norms, the levels of positive affect remained similar to those in the general population, and the average life satisfaction appeared only slightly decreased. Depression was found to act as a dominant mediator between the severity of experiences of psychosis and satisfaction with life. Possible explanations for the findings are proposed and implications from the positive clinical psychology perspective are suggested. Based on the study outcomes it is argued that: (1) psychosis does not equal unhappiness, (2) psychosis does not immobilize adaptive mechanisms of SWB, (3) psychosis does not exempt individuals from positive mood set-points, and (4) psychosis does not indiscriminately lower life satisfaction.


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