Insomnia is associated with conspiracy mentality, psychological distress, and psychological well-being

Kai Tak POON, Rheal S. W. CHAN, Jieshuang LIANG, Man Wai Liman LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Rationale: Conspiracy theories are frequently encountered as they exist across all domains of life, from interpersonal issues in the workplace to global events. Research has primarily focused on uncovering the antecedents of conspiracy beliefs; meanwhile, little research has examined the impacts of possessing a conspiracy mentality. Objective: In the current research, we examined the relationships of conspiracy mentality with perceived control, insomnia, psychological well-being (i.e., positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement), and psychological distress (i.e., anxiety and depression). Methods: Participants (N = 388) reported their conspiracy mentality at Time 1 and then completed measures assessing perceived control, insomnia, psychological well-being, and psychological distress 1 month later at Time 2. We conducted regression analyses, structural equation modeling, and bootstrapping analyses to test our predictions that conspiracy mentality predicts insomnia through thwarted perceived control and that this relationship carries direct implications for psychological well-being and distress. Results: As predicted, regression analyses showed that conspiracy mentality is negatively associated with perceived control and indicators of psychological well-being, and positively associated with insomnia and indicators of psychological distress 1 month later. The results of structural equation modeling and bootstrapping analyses provided empirical support to our theoretical model that perceived control and insomnia serially mediate the relationship between conspiracy mentality and both psychological well-being and psychological distress. Conclusions: These findings offer important contributions to the literature on conspiracy beliefs. Practically, they offer potential routes of intervention to weaken insomnia and psychological distress and enhance psychological well-being. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116384
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Early online dateNov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


Poon, K.-T., Chan, R. S. W., Liang, J., & Li, L. M. W. (2023). Insomnia is associated with conspiracy mentality, psychological distress, and psychological well-being. Social Science and Medicine, 339, Article 116384.


  • Conspiracy
  • Insomnia
  • Perceived control
  • Well-being
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PG student publication


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