Magical thinking and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in Australia and Iceland: A cross-cultural comparison

Fjóla Dögg Helgadóttir*, Ross G. Menzies, Danielle A. Einstein

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    A unique relationship between obsessive-compulsive symptoms and magical thinking has previously been discovered in both Australian undergraduate samples and a clinical sample. The aim of this paper is to explore the cultural dependency of this relationship. Icelandic culture was selected due to evidence of an elevated belief in telepathy and the paranormal. An Icelandic undergraduate sample was gender and age matched to an Australian sample from the Einstein and Menzies study (2004b). Results indicate that the Icelandic sample had significantly higher magical thinking, superstitious thinking, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, but was not significantly different for superstitious behaviour and the TAF-Likelihood questionnaires. In a forced simultaneous regression with obsessive-compulsive symptoms as the dependent variable, only two subscales of the DASS, stress and anxiety, as well as magical thinking continued to be correlated with obsessive-compulsive symptoms. In conclusion, magical thinking is a core construct in obsessive-compulsive symptomatology, and this relationship appears to cross cultural boundaries. In particular, a sample of Icelanders with higher levels of magical thinking also demonstrated higher levels of obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)216-219
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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