Magical thinking in obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and the general community

Danielle A. Einstein*, Ross G. Menzies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Magical Ideation was examined in 71 individuals across four groups matched, where possible, for gender and age. These groups were: (1) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) patients with cleaning compulsions (n = 11); (2) OCD patients with checking compulsions (n = 20); (3) panic disorder patients with minimal obsessive compulsive symptoms (n = 19); (4) a "normal" control group with minimal obsessive compulsive symptoms (n = 21). The Magical Ideation Scale (MI, Eckblad and Chapman, 1983), the Obsessive Compulsive Inventory- Short Version (OCI-SV; Foa et al., 2002) and the Maudsley Obsessional-Compulsive Inventory (MOCI, Hodgson and Rachman, 1977) were administered to all participants. A one-way Anova was conducted with four planned contrasts. As expected, the OCD groups obtained magical ideation scores higher than the normal subjects. This suggests that OCD patients engage in more magical thinking tendencies than non-anxious controls. Similarly, OCD participants obtained a mean magical ideation score significantly higher than the panic disorder group, suggesting that obsessional compulsive patients are more likely to exhibit magical thinking than individuals with panic disorder. Of note, panic disorder and control group means on MI did not differ significantly. Finally, individuals with obsessive cleaning compulsions displayed higher levels of magical thinking compared to individuals with obsessive checking compulsions, despite no difference in severity of their obsessive compulsive symptoms. This observation was counter to previous findings (Einstein and Menzies, 2004a; Einstein and Menzies, 2004b).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-357
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • magical thinking
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Schizotypy

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