Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Amy Weisman de Mamani

Second Committee Member

Saneya Tawfik

Third Committee Member

Laura Kohn-Wood


Patients with schizophrenia demonstrate diminished cognitive insight (Warman, Lysaker, & Martin, 2007), and a more external locus of control (Bentall & Kaney, 2005) compared to non-psychiatric populations. Although having increased insight has many benefits for those with schizophrenia (e.g. greater treatment adherence), a paradox exists in which it is often associated with worse well-being, known as the insight paradox (Staring et al., 2009; Lysaker, Roe, & Yanos, 2007). It is unclear whether this pattern between insight and well-being also occurs in individuals with subclinical psychotic symptoms. Prior research in schizophrenia also suggests that the relationship between greater psychotic symptoms and decreased psychological well-being is stronger for individuals who endorse a more external locus of control (Garety et al., 2007). This relationship has not been tested in a non-clinical population. Studying these relationships in a non-clinical population will provide information on whether patterns seen in schizophrenia are also present at lower level psychotic symptoms, or whether they only emerge once the threshold for a clinical diagnosis is met. Using structural equation modeling in a sample of 420 undergraduates, this study found, in line with hypotheses, that sub-clinical psychotic symptoms were negatively associated with psychological well-being. Secondary analyses suggested that this relationship is stronger for individuals who identify as minorities (Hispanics, Blacks and “Others”) than for Whites. The insight paradox was also substantiated as increased cognitive insight was associated with worse psychological well-being. However, contrary to expectations, cognitive insight and locus of control did not moderate the relationship between sub-clinical psychosis and psychological well-being. Finally, on an exploratory basis, study hypotheses were re-examined with symptoms broken down by positive, negative, and disorganized type. Disorganized symptoms were found to have the strongest negative association with psychological well-being. This study sheds light into the association between sub-clinical psychotic symptoms and psychological well-being in a non-clinical population.


sub-clinical psychotic symptoms; cognitive insight; locus of control; psychological well-being